Persephone Books

Hello!

Now you might have noticed that Persephone Books in Bath is one of my all time favourite book shops. I love the books that Persephone Books produce because they have introduced me to authors I have never come across before. After a few trips to Bath I have a growing collection of Persephone Books to read and this year I have decided to really make an effort to read the books I own and also increase my collection of Persephone Books.

So lets see how many of the Persephone Books I can read…

  1. William – an Englishman by Cicely Hamilton
  2. Mariana by Monica Dickens
  3. Someone at a Distance by Dorothy Whipple
  4. Fidelity by Susan Glaspell
  5. An Interrupted Life: The Diaries and Letters of Etty Hillesum 1941-42 by Etty Hillesum
  6. The Victorian Chaise-longue by Marghanita Laski
  7. The Home-Maker by Dorothy Canfield Fisher
  8. Good Evening, Mrs Craven: The Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes by Mollie Panter-Downes
  9. Few Eggs and No Oranges by Vere Hodgson
  10. Good Things in England by Florence White
  11. Julian Grenfell by Nicholas Mosley
  12. It’s Hard to Be Hip Over Thirty by Judith Viorst
  13. Consequences by E M Delafield
  14. Farewell Leicester Square by Betty Miller
  15. Tell It to a Stranger by Elizabeth Berridge
  16. Saplings by Noel Streatfield
  17. Marjory Fleming by Oriel Malet
  18. Every Eye by Isobel English
  19. They Knew Mr Knight by Dorothy Whipple
  20. A Woman’s Place: 1910-75 by Ruth Adam
  21. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson
  22. Consider the Years by Viginia Graham
  23. Reuben Sachs by Amy Levy
  24. Family Roundabout by Richmal Crompton
  25. The Montana Stories by Katherine Mansfield
  26. Brook Evans by Susan Glaspell
  27. The Children who Lived in a Barn by Eleanor Graham
  28. Little Boy Lost by Marghanita Laski
  29. The Making of Marchioness by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  30. Kitchen Essays by Agnes Jekyll
  31. A House in the Country by Jocelyn Playfair
  32. The Carlyles at Home by Thea Holme
  33. The Far Cry by Emma Smith
  34. Minnie’s Room: The Peacetime Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes by Mollie Panter-Downes
  35. Greenery Street by Denis Mackail
  36. Lettice Delmer by Susan Miles
  37. The Runaway by Elizabeth Anna Hart
  38. Cheerful Weather for the Wedding by Julia Strachey
  39. Manja by Anna Gmeyner
  40. The Priory by Dorothy Whipple
  41. Hostages to Fortune by Elizabeth Cambridge
  42. The Blank Wall by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding
  43. The Wise Virgins by Leonard Woolf
  44. Tea with Mr Rochester by Frances Towers
  45. Good Food on the Aga by Ambrose Heath
  46. Miss Ranskill Comes Home by Barbara Euphan Todd
  47. The New House by Lettice Cooper
  48. The Casino by Margaret Bonham
  49. Bricks and Mortar by Helen Ashton
  50. The World that was Ours by Hilda Bernstein
  51. Operation Heartbreak by Duff Cooper
  52. The Village by Marghanita Laski
  53. Lady Rose and Mrs Memmary by Ruby Ferguson
  54. They can’t Ration These by Vicomte de Mauduit
  55. Flush by Virginia Woolf
  56. They Were Sisters by Dorothy Whipple
  57. The Hopkins Manuscript by RC Sherriff
  58. Hetty Dorval by Ethel Wilson
  59. There Were No Windows by Norah Hoult
  60. Doreen by Barbara Noble
  61. A London Child of the 1870s by Molly Hughes
  62. How To Run Your Home Without Help by Kay Smallshaw
  63. Princes in the Land by Joanna Cannan
  64. The Woman Novelist and Other Stories by Diana Gardner
  65. Alas, Poor Lady by Rachel Ferguson
  66. Gardener’s Nightcap by Muriel Stuart
  67. The Fortnight in September by RC Sherriff
  68. The Expendable Man by Dorothy B Hughes
  69. Journal by Katherine Mansfield
  70. Plats du Jour by Patience Gray
  71. The Shuttle by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  72. House-Bound by Winifred Peck
  73. The Young Pretenders by Edith Henrietta Fowler
  74. The Closed Door and Other Stories by Dorothy Whipple
  75. On the Other Side: Letters to my Children from Germany 1940–46 by Mathilde Wolff-Mönckeberg
  76. The Crowded Street by Winifred Holtby
  77. Daddy’s Gone A-Hunting by Penelope Mortimer
  78. A Very Great Profession by Nicola Beauman
  79. Round About a Pound a Week by Maud Pember Reeves
  80. The Country Housewife’s Book by Lucy H Yates
  81. Miss Buncle’s Book by DE Stevenson
  82. Amours de Voyage by Arthur Hugh Clough
  83. Making Conversation by Christine Longford
  84. A New System of Domestic Cookery by Mrs Rundell
  85. High Wages by Dorothy Whipple
  86. To Bed With Grand Music by Marghanita Laski
  87. Dimanche and Other Stories by Irène Némirovsky
  88. Still Missing by Beth Gutcheon
  89. The Mystery of Mrs Blencarrow by Mrs Oliphant
  90. The Winds of Heaven by Monica Dickens
  91. Miss Buncle Married by DE Stevenson
  92. Midsummer Night in the Workhouse by Diana Athill
  93. The Sack of Bath by Adam Fergusson
  94. No Surrender by Constance Maud
  95. Greenbanks by Dorothy Whipple
  96. Dinners for Beginners by Rachel and Margaret Ryan
  97. Harriet by Elizabeth Jenkins
  98. A Writer’s Diary by Virginia Woolf
  99. Patience by John Coates
  100. The Persephone Book of Short Stories by Persephone Books
  101. Heat Lightning by Helen Hull
  102. The Exiles Return by Elisabeth de Waal
  103. The Squire by Enid Bagnold
  104. The Two Mrs Abbotts by DE Stevenson
  105. Diary of a Provincial Lady by E M Delafield
  106. Into the Whirlwind by Eugenia Ginzburg
  107. Wilfred and Eileen by Jonathan Smith
  108. The Happy Tree by Rosalind Murray
  109. The Country Life Cookery Book by Ambrose Heath
  110. Because of the Lockwoods by Dorothy Whipple
  111. London War Notes by Mollie Panter-Downes
  112. Vain Shadow by Jane Hervey
  113. Greengates by RC Sherriff
  114. Gardeners’ Choice by Evelyn Dunbar and Charles Mahoney
  115. Maman, What Are We Called Now? by Jacqueline Mesnil-Amar
  116. A Lady and Her Husband by Amber Reeves
  117. The Godwits Fly by Robin Hyde
  118. Every Good Deed and Other Stories by Dorothy Whipple
  119. Long Live Great Bardfield by Tirzah Garwood
  120. Madame Solario by Gladys Huntington
  121. Effi Briest by Theodor Fontane
  122. Earth and High Heaven by Gwethalyn Graham
  123. Emmeline by Judith Rossner
  124. The Journey Home and Other Stories by Malachi Whitaker
  125. Guard Your Daughters by Diana Tutton
  126. Despised and Rejected by Rose Allatini
  127. Young Anne by Dorothy Whipple
  128. Tory Heaven by Marghanita Laski
  129. The Call by Edith Ayrton Zangwill
  130. National Provincial by Lettice Cooper
  131. Milton Place by Elisabeth de Waal
  132. The Second Persephone Book of Short Stories by Persephone Books
  133. Expiation by Elizabeth von Arnim
  134. A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
  135. One Woman’s Year by Stella Martin Currey
  136. The Oppermanns by Lion Feuchtwanger
  137. English Climate: Wartime Stories by Sylvia Townsend Warner
  138. The New Magdalen by Wilkie Collins
  139. Random Commentary by Dorothy Whipple
  140. The Rector’s Daughter by F M Mayor
  141. The Deepening Stream by Dorothy Canfield Fisher
  142. As It Was by Helen Thomas
  143. A Well Full of Leaves by Elizabeth Myers
  144. The Other Day by Dorothy Whipple
  145. The Waters under the Earth by John Moore

I know the list is huge and books are always getting added but I would love to read more off the list.

Have you read any of these books?

Happy Reading

Etsy

Goodreads Monday: 16/01/2023

Goodreads Monday is now hosted by Budget Tales Book Club.  All you have to do is show off a book from your TBR that you’re looking forward to reading.

Happy Monday!

I hope everyone has had a good start to the week so far. I have had an interesting day at school, recorders filled with polystyrene, sticky ukuleles and sticky practice diaries. I’m not sure what these children do with their instruments. Truthfully, I probably don’t want to know.

My chosen book this week is one that I really want to read and one that is from the Persephone Books publishers. Persephone books in Bath is possibly my absolute favourite bookshop.

Most of these stories focus on the small, quiet or unspoken intricacies of human relationships rather than grand dramas. The use of metaphor is delicate and subtle; often the women are strong and capable and the men less so; shallow and selfish motives are exposed.
The dates of these stories range from 1909 to 1986 and there are thirty in all. The ten stories which are already in print in Persephone editions of their work are by Katherine Mansfield, Irène Némirovsky, Mollie Panter-Downes (twice), Elizabeth Berridge, Dorothy Whipple, Frances Towers, Margaret Bonham, Diana Gardner and Diana Athill. The ten stories which have already been published in the Quarterly and Biannually are by EM Delafield; Dorothy Parker; Dorothy Whipple; Edith Wharton; Phyllis Bentley; Dorothy Canfield Fisher; Norah Hoult; Angelica Gibbs; Penelope Mortimer; and Georgina Hammick. And lastly the ten stories which are new are by Susan Glaspell, Pauline Smith, Malachi Whitaker, Betty Miller, Helen Hull, Kay Boyle, Shirley Jackson, Sylvia Townsend Warner, Elizabeth Spencer and Penelope Fitzgerald.

I plan on trying to read a short story a day.

Please drop me a comment if you have taken part in Goodreads Monday and I will head over for a visit.

Happy Reading

Etsy

Amours de Voyage by Arthur Hugh Clough (Review #2)

Amours de Voyage by Arthur Hugh Clough

Blurb

Amours de Voyage is a novel in verse and is arranged in five cantos, or chapters, as a sequence of letters. It is about a group of English travellers in Italy: Claude, and the Trevellyn family, are caught up in the 1849 political turmoil. The poem mixes the political (‘Sweet it may be, and decorous, perhaps, for the country to die; but,/On the whole, we conclude the Romans won’t do it, and I sha’n’t’) and the personal (‘After all, do I know that I really cared so about her?/Do whatever I will, I cannot call up her image’). The political is important but the personal dilemmas are the crucial ones.

Claude, about to declare himself, retreats, regrets. It is this retreat, his scruples and fastidiousness, that, like a conventional novel, is the core of Amours de Voyage. The poem thus contributed something important to the modern sensibility; it is a portrait of an anti-hero; it is about love and marriage (the difficulties of); and it is about Italy.

Review

I had never heard of Arthur Hugh Clough before but I was really intrigued when I saw this book in Persephone books so I bought it. I have been reading some pretty hefty books recently so last weekend I thought I would read a shorter book as a quick read and this was the book I chose. 

The first thing I loved about this book was the preface by Julian Barnes. Barnes gave a wonderful description of Clough’s life and the background behind this book. It really set the scene well. 

This was quite a different read for me but one that I flew through. I really loved Claude’s thoughts on Rome as he really was very unimpressed with the whole affair and I found his reactions to it quite amusing. The book is a novel in verse and made up of letters. Claude writes to his long suffering friend Eustace and I say long suffering because I think the poor man has a lot of letters of Claude. The other letters are from the Trevellyn sisters to their friend. 

I will be honest the character Claude was not my favourite. He found Rome boring, he was self centred, looked down on people and only found Mary interesting when she had gone. Personally I think Mary was better off without Claude in her life. Mary thought a lot more about Claude than Claude did about Mary. 

Overall, I loved Clough’s writing and I would love to read more of his work but what let it down for me was simply his main character Claude. I just could not deal with Claude’s selfish behaviour sadly. Due to this I give the book 3 out of 5 Dragons. 

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Purchase Links

Book Depository | Bookshop.org | Waterstones | Wordery

(All purchases made using one of the above affiliate links gives a small percentage of money to myself with no extra cost to yourself. All proceeds go towards the upkeep of this blog. Thank you ever so much, your support is gratefully received.)

About the author

Arthur Hugh Clough (1819-1861) was an English poet, an educationalist, and the devoted assistant to Florence Nightingale. 

Etsy

The Victorian Chaise-Longue by Marghanita Laski (Review)

The Victorian Chaise-Longue by Marghanita Laski

Blurb

Tells the story of a young married woman who lies down on a chaise-longue and wakes to find herself imprisoned in the body of her alter ego ninety years before.

Review

A couple of days ago I went book shopping at one of my favourite bookshops Persephone Books in Bath and I came away with quite a few books. When I saw this book in the shop it really intrigued me so as soon as I got back to the hotel I started reading it and I was hooked. 

Melanie is a young wife and recent mother in the 1950’s but sadly she is confined to her bed with TB. She has a rather patronising doctor and an equally patronising husband who both treat her like a small child. Her husband thinks she is silly and even tells her this and because she is petted and spoiled and told she is silly she acts like an over privileged spoiled brat. 

Things soon turn rather sinister for Melanie after she dozes off on the chaise-longue. Melanie wakes up in a different room and the only constant is the chaise-longue, even her clothes and body are different but she is Melanie inside, on the outside however she is somebody else who is called Milly and Milly is from the Victorian period.

As the story develops it soon becomes clear that Milly is also a very sick woman but because of the lack of medical knowledge in the Victorian period Milly is not doing as well as Melanie was. It also becomes clear that Milly has a dark secret and something sinister happened in her past. 

The trapped Melanie soon realises that this new world she finds herself in is the polar opposite to the one she comes from. Melanie is used to comforts, to being petted and spoiled and never hearing a harsh word. Milly is not used to comforts and is harshly treated and spoken to. Milly’s world is coarse to Melanie’s soft. 

I loved the contrasts in this book and how Melanie tries to work out how to escape this body she finds herself in. The book explores themes of mental health, physical health and developments in medical treatments. It also looks at the roles of women in the 1950’s and 1860’s. As the reader I desperately wanted to know more about Milly’s past and find out her story because we get hints of it and some of those hints are rather worrying and scary. 

This book is rather creepy and a perfect read for the month of October. I flew through the book and could have happily read it in one sitting if I wasn’t having so much fun on my holiday. I know the not knowing added to the atmosphere of the story but it did leave me frustrated and it is because of this I only give the book 4 out of 5 Dragons. I will definitely be reading more by Marghanita Laski though.

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Purchase Links

Book Depository | Foyles | Waterstones | Wordery

(All purchases made using one of the above affiliate links gives a small percentage of money to myself with no extra cost to yourself. All proceeds go towards the upkeep of this blog. Thank you ever so much, your support is gratefully received.)

About the author

Marghanita Laski (1915-1988) was an English journalist, radio panellist and novelist. She also wrote literary biography, plays and short stories, and contributed about 250,000 additions to the Oxford English Dictionary. 

Etsy

The New Magdalen by Wilkie Collins (Review)

The New Magdalen by Wilkie Collins

Blurb

Wilkie Collins is rightly regarded as one of the nineteenth century’s most eminent writers. Although many Persephone readers will know The Woman in White and The Moonstone, he in fact published twenty-one other novels. The New Magdalen (1873), Persephone Book No.138, is about a ‘fallen woman’, Mercy Merrick, attempting to rehabilitate her character and her reputation; and the (often reprehensible and unkind) attitude of some of those around her.

Review

I love The Woman in White so I had high hopes for this book and I was not disappointed. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I will be honest I have never rooted for someone who should be seen as the bad guy so much and disliked the good person so much. 

Mercy Merrick has had a terrible life and in the eyes of society she can’t sink any lower but Mercy has been trying to rebuild her life and make herself respectable again but society won’t let her achieve her dreams and keeps knocking her down. The story begins with Mercy working as a nurse in the Franco-Prussian war in 1870. However, during this period Mercy happens to meet Grace Roseberry and they exchange stories. Grace is going to England to become the companion of a rich lady and has all the papers and evidence she needs to achieve this. However, Grace is killed by a shell and Mercy sees her chance at a different life. 

Mercy is a wonderful character, she has had a terrible childhood and adolescence but none of this was her fault. It was the fault of a society that did not look after its poor and vulnerable. Mercy tries to better herself though and refuses to go back to the life she once led. She works hard in whatever job she is in and strives to always do her best. But it isn’t just the fact she works hard it is the fact that she is good and kind and always thinking of others. Other people could have been made bitter and angry by a past like Mercy’s but this is not the case with Mercy and this is why Lady Janet and Julian Gray love her so much. 

Lady Janet is an extremely wealthy woman who is very lonely. She has no children and her marriage we are told was loveless. For all her wealth she has had no love in her life apart from the love of her nephew Julian Gray. Julian Gray is a reverend of some renown, his sermons are legendary and he is known as being rather different from his fellow clergy.  He does not judge people and will try to help anyone in need. 

Grace Roseberry and Horace Holmcroft were my least favourite characters of the book. Grace was pure evil in my eyes, she might appear the perfect lady but she was shallow, unfeeling, selfish and judgemental. Horace Holmcroft spent his life surrounded by his mother and sisters and he was very much a mommy’s boy. His character is also exactly like Grace’s but Collins does not show us his true character until later in the book. 

This book is beautifully written by Collins and so clever that I did not want to put it down. The book really shows that true love can be blinding, it can be all forgiving, it can make you completely change your opinions, true love can really conquer all. I give this book 5 out of 5 Dragons and I can’t wait to read my next Collins novel. 

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Purchase Links

Book Depository | Foyles | Waterstones | Wordery

(All purchases made using one of the above affiliate links gives a small percentage of money to myself with no extra cost to yourself. All proceeds go towards the upkeep of this blog. Thank you ever so much, your support is gratefully received.)

About the author

William Wilkie Collins (1824-1889) was an English novelist and playwright known especially for The Woman in White and The Moonstone.

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This and That Thursday

Hello

Over the last few weeks we have been trying to get some adventures in before Christmas. Christmas is always a busy time for us work wise so it is always nice to have a little break before the madness starts.

Lantern Show

We went to a lantern show near us which was absolutely amazing and great fun.

Carol Train

We went with family on a steam train for a Christmas evening which involved carol singing, mulled wine, Christmas decorations and festive fun. It was really nice to spend time with family and I love going on a steam train.

Bath

We usually go to Bath over the New Year but because of work commitments it wasn’t possible this time so we went this week instead. I love Bath and I really missed not going last year. I was really happy to visit Toppings’ new location and to visit the new Persephone Books that has opened. I also visited Mr B’s Emporium which has really changed since we last saw it. It wasn’t all bookshops though, we also went to the Rossetti exhibition at the Holburne Museum and the Fashion Museum in the Assembly Rooms. I really did not want to leave but I have a big list of places I want to visit next.

The rest of our time has been taken up with Christmas decorations and work. Here are a few snaps of the Christmas decorations.

Happy Reading

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