My latest batch of Persephones arrived this week. When you order directly from Peresephone you get each volume mailed to you in a separate package, and they tend to arrive spread out over a few days. So for about a week now I have been getting wonderful little packages almost every day. I ended up with a baker’s dozen–12 of which I ordered, the 13th was a freebie that Persephone sent as part of a promotion. Anyone who bought at least 3 titles got a free copy of RC Sheriff’s A Fortnight in September. Since I already own a copy of this wonderful novel I am going to give it away to some lucky reader in the U.S. More on that at the end of the post.
When I posted recently about ordering more Persephones, a few of you were dying to know which titles made the cut. The odd thing is when I sit down with the catalog(ue) I take great pains to figure out which ones I want. But there is so much to choose from, so many I want, and so much variety, that I tend to forget why I ordered particular titles. I will do my best to annotate the list.
No. 6 – The Victorian Chaise-longue by Marghanita Laski
I enjoyed Little Boy Lost and I already own To Bed with Grand Music and even a non-Persephone edition of her novel The Village. But more than anything I was influenced by Miranda a former-blogger who was part of the group I met last November in London. She mentioned this title and I was surprised to hear “chaise-longue” pronounced correctly. I had never looked that closely at the title and always thought it was spelled like most Americans would pronounce it: “chaise-lounge”. At that moment I was fascinated but also relieved that I hadn’t said the title first and embarassed myself. So now I will have to see what the book is all about.
No. 13 – Consequences by E.M. Delafield
I have only read two of Delafield’s Provincial Lady diaries so I am interested to see what she is like with a more straightforward narrative.
No. 18 – Every Eye by Isobel English
I got this one because it received high praise from Muriel Spark and I would love to read a Persephone with a Sparkian sensibility.
No. 34 – Minnie’s Room by Mollie Panter-Downes
I loved Panter-Downes wartime stories in Good Evening Mrs. Craven so I thought her peacetime stories deserved equal time.
No. 41 – Hostages to Fortune by Elizabeth Cambridge
“Deals with domesticity without being in the least bit cozy”. Doctor’s wife, rural Oxfordshire…what’s not to love.
No. 44 – Tea with Mr. Rochester by Frances Towers
This collection of stories recieves so much critical praise in the Persephone catalogue that I couldn’t pass it up.
No. 46 – Miss Ranskill Comes Home by Barbara Euphan Todd
This one has been on my maybe list for both of my previous Persephone buying binges. Such a great premise: Miss Ranskill is swept overboard on a cruise and lives on a desert island for three years before being returned to England in 1943. An England deep in World War II.
No. 48 – The Casino by Margaret Bonham
1940s short stories with a dark sense of humor.
No. 53 – Lady Rose and Mrs Memmary by Rachel Ferguson
Reputed to be the Queen Mum’s favorite book (when she wasn’t watching Benny Hill).
No. 63 – Princes in the Land by Joanna Cannan
Mother, ramshackle house outside of Oxford, three children who “take paths that are anathema to her”…Makes me glad I don’t have kids to disappoint me.
No. 65 – Alas, Poor Lady by Rachel Ferguson
I just realized that I bought two by Rachel Ferguson and she was the one who wrote The Brontes Went to Woolworths which I did not like much at all. But, this one sounds absolutely fascinating. It takes a look at what happens to single ladies, “distressed gentlefolk”, governersses and such, after they become too old to work. For those of us who read so many novels about pre-war women trying to make do, this one seems like a must read.
No. 91 – Miss Buncle Married by D.E. Stevenson
I just finished Miss Buncle’s Book and loved it to pieces so I had to have the sequel.
And now for the giveaway…
For those of you in the U.S. who would like a free copy of A Fortnight in September, all you have to do is read my review of the book and give me the one reason (from the review) that makes you want to read this book. (Don’t worry, there is no right answer.) And be sure and let me know if you are a Persephone virgin, I will enter your name twice in the random draw.