Monday, September 11, 2006

The Brontës Went to Woolworths

I love it when one thing leads to another and the power of distraction and procrastination means you end up somewhere you really didn't expect.

Friday lunchtime saw me dash into the wonderful Persephone book shop (59 Lambs Conduit Street, Holborn) to pick up three more dove-grey tomes ('Cheerful Weather for the Wedding' by Julia Strachey, 'Every Eye' by Isobel English and 'Alas, Poor Lady' by Rachel Ferguson) - as well as the brand new Persephone Quarterly (as I was too impatient to wait until Saturday for it to arrive in the post).

And Friday evening saw me doing the night shift at a celeb mag... so with lots of time to kill waiting for the repro house to send over the cromalins, I amused myself by reading the Persephone Quarterly (resplendent with a beautiful picture of some Victorian-era ladies parading on the beach in their finery) and flicking through my new Persephone purchases. From reading the blurb on 'Alas, Poor Lady', I learnt that the author, Rachel Ferguson, had also written a book called 'The Brontës Went to Woolworths' - which must surely be among my all-time favourite titles for a novel. So I promptly went to Amazon and ordered up the last remaining copy from the Marketplace and I eagerly await its arrival. I would also like to add that by strange coincidence, the cover of 'The Brontës Went to Woolworths' is the same picture that graced the front of the current Persephone Quarterly that I admired so much. (I'd have liked to post it here but it's disappeared from the site now that I've bought the last copy.)

Rest assured that I shall keep you posted on how I get on with the Brontë book.

But in the meantime, I've already finished the brief 'Cheerful Weather for the Wedding' (more of a novella than a novel), which was originally published by the Woolf's Hogarth Press. Virginia Woolf went so far as to call it one of the most perfectly formed books ever written. High praise indeed. The book wasn't quite what I expected having read the write-up, but I enjoyed it as a period piece, as a lesson in long-lost etiquette and for the timeless emotions of two people caught in a situation their hearts don't want to be in. And, as always, beautifully presented by Persephone.

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