Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (August 22)

This Week In Books
Hosted by Lipsy Lost & Found my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I am reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words

My current read is The Shuttle by Frances Hodgson Burnett which was my pick on the Classic Club Spin #18. There are echoes of the garden from The Secret Garden but I have to be honest, I’m not exactly racing through it but I now need to get a move on to have it read and reviewed by the end of the month.

Blurb

The Shuttle is about American heiresses marrying English aristocrats; by extension it is about the effect of American energy, dynamism and affluence on an effete and impoverished English ruling class.

Sir Nigel Anstruthers crosses the Atlantic to look for a rich wife and returns with the daughter of an American millionaire, Rosalie Vanderpoel. He turns out to be a bully, a miser and a philanderer and virtually imprisons his wife in the house. Only when Rosalie’s sister Bettina is grown up does it occur to her and her father that some sort of rescue expedition should take place. And the beautiful, kind and dynamic Bettina leaves for Europe to try and find out why Rosalie has, inexplicably, chosen to lose touch with her family. In the process she engages in a psychological war with Sir Nigel; meets and falls in love with another Englishman; and starts to use the Vanderpoel money to modernize ‘Stornham Court’.

The book’s title refers to ships shuttling back and forth over the Atlantic (Frances Hodgson Burnett herself travelled between the two countries thirty-three times, something very unusual then). Goodreads

The last book I finished was This is Not a Novel by Jennifer Johnston one of my reads for 20 Books of Summer 2018 Challenge  which I am failing at.

Blurb

Johnny, an outstanding young swimmer, went missing nearly thirty years ago: drowned, or so everyone except his sister Imogen believes.

How could this have happened? Encouraged, pushed even, from a child by his father, Johnny could have made the Olympic team, couldn’t he?

As Imogen gradually pieces together bits of her family history, we hear the tragic echoes that connect her with the Great War and Ireland in the nineteen-twenties Amazon

And then I have a whole stack of great looking books to read for 6 September so I think next I will pick up Jenny Blackhurst’s, The Night She Died.

 

Blurb

On her own wedding night, beautiful and complicated Evie White leaps off a cliff to her death.
What drove her to commit this terrible act? It’s left to her best friend and her husband to unravel the sinister mystery.

Following a twisted trail of clues leading to Evie’s darkest secrets, they begin to realize they never knew the real Evie at all… Amazon

So what do you think? Any of this mixed bunch take your fancy?

Posted in The Classic Club

The Classic Club Spin #18 – The Result!


The Classics Club has decided to spin its wheel for the 18th time, the 2nd for Cleopatra Loves books and so I hesitantly checked out the result. Not because I have any books on the list I created that I’m really dreading but because I’m not quite sure when I’m going to fit in a book to August’s already bursting schedule and the book must be read, and reviewed by 31 August 2018.

The result came through and it is number 9 which for me means that I am to read The Shuttle by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

I’m going to do a little Q&A about the book so first things first and most importantly:

How many pages long is The Shuttle?

Over 500 and according to my kindle it is about 9 1/2 hours worth of reading time – so possibly not the best choice for August!

Why did you choose to add this book to your The Classics Club list of 50 books?

I have pondered about all those authors I repeatedly sought out as a child and wondered what books, if any they had written for adults, as a result when I came to draw up my list I decided to include a small selection of these to read over the next 5 years.

Do you own a copy of the book?

Yes, my copy for kindle was purchased in December 2013 so it has been at the back of my mind to read it for some time. At least the spin result didn’t mean I had to purchase a new book too!

What other books by this author have you read?

I was a huge reader of classic children stories. I was the child in the wider family who was known as ‘the bookworm’ and as a consequence got given many beautiful copies of books for birthdays and Christmas as well as having access to the copies my mother had read as a child.

I had a particularly lovely book with a story at each end with Little Lord Fauntleroy at one end and The Little Princess at the other. complete with what I felt essential as a child (and still do), a ribbon bookmark! I also had a copy of The Secret Garden, one of my favourite books of all time and I can still remember lying down to sleep imagining I was Mary – sadly, less green fingers than mine are rarely seen!

What’s The Shuttle about?

An American heiresses marrying English aristocrats; by extension it is about the effect of American energy, dynamism and affluence on an effete and impoverished English ruling class. Sir Nigel Anstruthers crosses the Atlantic to look for a rich wife and returns with the daughter of an American millionaire, Rosalie Vanderpoel.

He turns out to be a bully, a miser and a philanderer and virtually imprisons his wife in the house. Only when Rosalie’s sister Bettina is grown up does it occur to her and her father that some sort of rescue expedition should take place. And the beautiful, kind and dynamic Bettina leaves for Europe to try and find out why Rosalie has, inexplicably, chosen to lose touch with her family.

In the process she engages in a psychological war with Sir Nigel; meets and falls in love with another Englishman; and starts to use the Vanderpoel money to modernise ‘Stornham Court’. Persephone Books

When was The Shuttle first published?

In 1907 so a couple of years after The Little Princess and before The Secret Garden although apparently The Shuttle and The Secret Garden used Great Maytham Hall near Rolvenden, Kent, as inspiration for the setting.

Great Maytham Hall Photo by Stephen Nunney

Tell me a bit about Frances Hodgson Burnett?

Frances Eliza Hodgson was born at 141 York Street, Cheetham Manchester on 24 November 1849, one of five children born to an Ironmonger who owned a business and his well-to-do wife. Sadly her father died of a stroke in 1853 and Frances’s mother took over the running of the business. The family emigrated to America in 1865 settling near Knoxville, Tennessee.

Soon after her early scribblings were transformed into ‘proper’ writing and she had her first story published in Godey’s Lady’s Book in 1868. Funds from her writing meant that in 1872 she was able to fund her first trip back to the UK and then returned to Tennessee to marry Swann Burnett. The couple had two children and Frances continued writing.

In 1884 publication of Little Lord Fauntleroy secured her reputation as a writer and in 1887 she travelled to England for Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee and made yearly trips thereafter. In 1890 her eldest son died of consumption.

By the mid 1890s her home was Maytham Hall and in 1898 she was divorced from Swann by seemingly mutual agreement. She was to marry again to a man ten years her junior, it wasn’t a happy union and it was during this time she wrote The Shuttle. She was to divorce fairly swiftly afterwards and returned to the United States in 1907. She died on 29 October 1924 aged 74.

Frances Hodgson Burnett
           Aged approx 40

The Shuttle was republished by Persephone Press in 2007 bringing this ‘lost’ story to a new generation of readers.

What did you get fellow Classic Club Spinners?

Looking forward to everyone’s views on whether I should be celebrating my success or perhaps this book missed the mark where you’re concerned?

Posted in Uncategorized, Weekly Posts

Friday Finds (January 3)

Friday Finds Hosted by Should be Reading

FRIDAY FINDS showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

So, come on — share with us your FRIDAY FINDS!

On Monday I went to the cinema. Now I’m sure many of you do this quite regularly but it is a rare occasion for me, mainly because I’m not a big film lover and so I’m not good at sitting still for over 2 hours to watch one! However back in November I saw an advert for Saving Mr Banks and knew that this was one film I wanted to see! My companion of choice agreed to join me despite not knowing that Mary Poppins was a book!! I quickly filled him in that it wasn’t just one book but a whole series and the film was about the author P.L. Travers. Sadly, I live on an island with one cinema and when I checked the schedules it wasn’t showing here. Christmas preparations took over and whilst not forgotten the film was put to the back of my mind and then on Monday said companion got an email saying it was showing for that night only, oh the excitement!! So off we set in the wind and the rain, bought our drinks and popcorn and I sat down to a great film (and yes it made me cry!)

Saving Mr Banks

Now this is a tale of how my book collection is so large because I then wanted to re-read the original book (really I want to re-read the whole series but I do have some self-control) but decided that I wanted one with the illustrations in as I remember it from childhood. These were not books that I ever owned but I remember borrowing them from multiple libraries over the years. As the kindle version doesn’t have the illustrations Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers is winging its way to my bookshelf.

Mary Poppins

It doesn’t stop there because I now want to know more about the author so also ended up buying Mary Poppins, She Wrote: The Life of P.L. Travers by Valerie Lawson

Mary Poppins She Wrote

In addition to this new passion for all things Mary Poppins I came across a review for The Shuttle which was written by one of my favourite authors from childhood, Frances Hodgson Burnett, who wrote The Secret Garden and A Little Princess which I re-read countless times. As this was free on Amazon I just had to have it!

Layout 1 (Page 11)

Blurb

The Shuttle was first published exactly a hundred years ago and was begun in 1900 but frequently abandoned while its author, Frances Hodgson Burnett, wrote several other books (including, most famously, The Making of a Marchioness). It is about American heiresses marrying English aristocrats; by extension it is about the effect of
American energy, dynamism and affluence on an effete and impoverished English ruling class. Amazon

From Amazon Vine I have a copy of Mother, Mother by Koren Zailckas which is due to be published on 16 January 2014
by HarperCollins
Adobe Photoshop PDF

Blurb

Meet Violet Hurst -16 years old, beautiful and brilliant. So why is she being accused of being a danger to herself and others?
Meet her brother Will Hurst – the smartest and sweetest twelve-year old boy around. But does he really need all that medication he is being told to take?
Meet oldest sister Rose – the one who got away. She disappeared one night in her final year of school, never to be heard from again.
And then meet their mother – Josephine. Perhaps it will then all start to make sense.
An electrifying debut novel about a mother’s love gone too far Amazon

And my favourite publishing house, Random House UK, have given me a copy of The Last Winter of Dani Lancing by P. D. Viner which was published in September 2013.

The Last Winter of Dani Lancing

Blurb

Something very bad happened to Dani Lancing.
Twenty years later, her father is still trying to get her to talk.
Her best-friend has become a detective, the last hope of all the lost girls.
And her mother is about to become a killer… Netgalley

Doesn’t that sound like an amazing read? I am looking forward to getting stuck into my latest haul as well as deciding which of all the best books of 2013 lists I really want. Did I mention that my resolution for 2014 is to get a new bookshelf? (it is the only option!)

What books have you found that have made their way to your TBR’s?