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Monday 28 June 2021

A person who inspires me

 This topic from Long and Short Reviews was surprisingly easy. As a writer myself I'm inspired by other writers, and one in particular has been a shining light for me since I was a teenager.

Anne Bronte.

Despite her novel Agnes Grey being overshadowed by her sisters' more dramatic novels, she achieved great success with The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, a fact that is often forgotten since Charlotte Bronte blocked publication of it for years after Anne's death. Her purpose was reform, not drama, although sadly her attempts to reform the situation of governesses and of women trapped in abusive marriages weren't appreciated during her lifetime.

For this reason I was very proud when I was given the chance to work on the Clandestine Classic version of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. I enjoyed the challenge of matching my writing style to Anne's and adding sections which would fit into the story. While I highly doubt this had any bearing on Anne's more recent rise in the public's estimations - there are many Bronte historians to thank for that - I'm still thrilled to have my name next to hers.

So who inspires you?

Monday 21 June 2021

Saddest book I've ever read

 I'm going to open this particular Long and Short Reviews topic by saying that I am not a person who cries over books. Hell, I'm not really a person who cries over films either. I am definitely not someone who seeks out weepy books or films (and have never read Nicholas Sparks for that reason).

So the book I eventually came up with for this topic?

The Virgin Suicides.

As you can probably gather from a title like that, it has a lot of teenage angst and, yes, suicides, but it is beautifully written and manages to avoid the tacky shock value that it could otherwise have had.

I didn't cry over it, but I did find it moving, and that's about as far as I go.

So what's the saddest book you've ever read?

Monday 14 June 2021

The best parts of each season

 This topic from Long and Short Reviews was easy in some parts and difficult in others.

My favourite season is winter. Why? Simple - Christmas. I love everything about it - dark nights lit with fairy lights, mulled wine at the German market, exchanging presents and having dinner with family. Who know, we might even get to do that this year.

Autumn, though, was a tough one. I don't like much about it - it's cold, damp and grey. However, it does contain one benefit - my birthday.

Which is always a bonus. (No, I don't know how they did that design either.)

For summer the best thing for me is holidays.

That one was taken on Capri, but it looks as though this year will be Scotland and the Lake District. No bad thing, the UK has some beautiful areas and the Lakes and Highlands are definitely included.

And spring? I couldn't find a photo of it, but a couple of years ago we went to Alnwick Castle to see the cherry blossoms, which come out around the end of April. If you're in the UK around that time I would recommend it - I love seeing the blossoms come out and they make a spectacular display at Alnwick, with swing seats to sit in under the trees.

So what are your favourite parts of each season?

Monday 7 June 2021

The best gift I ever received

 I had to think back for this topic from Long and Short Reviews. What counts as the best gift? 

Best as a child was probably the keyboard-synthesiser my parents got me when I was 14. I never did learn to play it properly, but I was never off the thing.

Most expensive would be either the opal earrings my dad got me for my 18th birthday or the honeymoon in Portugal my mother paid for.

However, in terms of being most special, it would have to be this:

My husband commissioned one of his friends, who is an artist, to paint this for our wedding anniversary. It's exactly the sort of thing I like - I love beach scenes - and it's absolutely beautiful. The photo probably doesn't do it justice, but it's still the best piece of artwork I have - and I have a lot now.

So what's the best gift you ever received?