‘Bleak House, the fact that Esther gets smallpox…’: Dickens in Ducks, Newburyport

This is the paper I gave at The Impact of Dickens conference on 17 September, with many thanks to Dr Pete Orford, Dr John Drew, my fellow panelists and the attendees for a brilliant discussion of all things Dickens over the two days. In 2019, the novel Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann was published toContinue reading “‘Bleak House, the fact that Esther gets smallpox…’: Dickens in Ducks, Newburyport”

Lovechild: A Sloppy Affair?

Reading over Our Mutual Friend again, one word (or two words joined by a hyphen) shook me out of my comfortable familiarity with the text: ‘love-child’. I suppose in some ways, I shouldn’t have been surprised. There is a long tradition of exploring illegitimacy in fiction. Indeed, the nineteenth century is awash with characters bornContinue reading “Lovechild: A Sloppy Affair?”

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith: A Long Overdue Read

I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith My rating: 5 of 5 stars Well, what a delight this book was. I think the only astonishing thing is that I had never come across it before. Told from the point of view of Cassandra as she writes her journal, she really does set out to captureContinue reading “I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith: A Long Overdue Read”

The North Calls

I walked into the woods this morning, into the heart of the forest. The trees towered above me, still in full leaf, not yet ready to surrender their leaves to the siren call of autumn. In just a few steps it was though I was in another world. No voices, no traffic. Nothing to beContinue reading “The North Calls”

Book Review: The Other Girl by CD Major

The Other Girl by C.D. Major My rating: 5 of 5 stars I know I said I would not read any more books that had the word ‘girl’ in the title because I was sick of the infantilisation of women in contemporary fiction, but I might need to add some exceptions to my statement, becauseContinue reading “Book Review: The Other Girl by CD Major”

Review of The Binding by Bridget Collins

The Binding by Bridget Collins My rating: 5 of 5 stars I love it when I pick up a book from my TBR pile, having forgotten the reason why I bought it in the first place, and delve in with no expectations. I love it even more when the book is captivating, rich in detail,Continue reading “Review of The Binding by Bridget Collins”

Thoughts on Why Women are Blamed for Everything by Dr Jessica Taylor

This was a hard book to read, and an even harder book to write a review on. No woman gets through life without at some stage being confronted with the reality of male violence. Even if we are lucky enough to get through life without suffering a physical assault, we still shape our lives aroundContinue reading “Thoughts on Why Women are Blamed for Everything by Dr Jessica Taylor”

Review of It Started with a Secret by Jill Mansell, the queen of contemporary romance

It Started with a Secret by Jill Mansell My rating: 4 of 5 stars I have read every novel that Jill Mansell has published and they never fail to warm my heart. Many of you know I have really struggled to read during lockdown, and I am only just starting to get back into myContinue reading “Review of It Started with a Secret by Jill Mansell, the queen of contemporary romance”

Catherine Cookson: A Review of the Biography of her Life.

Catherine Cookson by Kathleen Jones My rating: 5 of 5 stars In 1994, I wrote a letter to Catherine Cookson, explaining that my Mam was a huge fan, and that I wanted to get her something special for her 40th birthday. I asked if it were possible for her to autograph a book for her.Continue reading “Catherine Cookson: A Review of the Biography of her Life.”

Mrs Dalrymple: A Story of Bigamy and Betrayal

I think it is time to share another story of divorce, one that brought a wry smile to my face. This time, it is the story of a lady who was not prepared to sit in silence as her husband tried to turn his back on her and take everything from her. She had spirit,Continue reading “Mrs Dalrymple: A Story of Bigamy and Betrayal”