Posted by George Simmers

The Shuttle (1907) by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Book review by George Simmers: When my daughter was young I used to read to her regularly, and when she was ten or eleven we both greatly enjoyed the children’s books of Frances Hodgson Burnet. The Secret Garden, A Little Princess, Little Lord Fauntleroy, Editha’s Burglar. Wonderful stories. Frances Hodgson Burnet. was born in Manchester, … Continue reading

The Heat of the Day (1948) by Elizabeth Bowen

Book Review by George Simmers: The Heat of the Day is a novel set in 1942. The central character is Stella, whose lover, Robert had been wounded at Dunkirk. He now seems to be working in Whitehall. One day a mysterious man called Harrison comes to Stella’s flat and tells her that Robert is passing … Continue reading

Beau Brocade (1907) by Baroness Orczy

Book review by George Simmers. This month we are looking at books and writers connected with Derbyshire and Yorkshire, and this novel, despite being written by the Hungarian, Baroness Orczy, qualifies on both counts. It is set on the moors of Derbyshire, and Baroness Orczy, having married her theatrical collaborator, Montagu Barstow, lived with him … Continue reading

The Luck of the Bodkins (1935) by P.G. Wodehouse

Book Review by George Simmers: July was Herbert Jenkins month at the Sheffield Hallam 1900-1950 Reading Group, and so I gave myself a treat by reading a Wodehouse. Before 1918 P.G. Wodehouse had a variety of British publishers, but in 1918 Picadilly Jim was taken on by Herbert Jenkins, and Wodehouse liked the way that … Continue reading

Giant’s Bread by Mary Westmacott (1930)

Book review by George S: This is the first of the novels that Agatha Christie published under the name of Mary Westmacott. It is an odd book, though an interesting one. (Warning: The review contains spoilers.) It begins with a prologue, the opening night of a new opera, The Giant, by an unknown Russian composer. … Continue reading

Absent In the Spring (1944) by Mary Westmacott

Book Review by France Soar: When Agatha Christie, already renowned for her detective fiction, chose to write certain novels under the pen-name Mary Westmacott, she was presumably seeking to avoid any preconceptions on the part of her readers. By the time I came to read Absent in the Spring, in the spring of 2022, anonymity … Continue reading

We Are Not Alone (1937) by James Hilton

Book review by George S: James Hilton wrote this novel after he had moved to Hollywood, and it reads rather like a movie treatment. We begin with opening shots of a cosy English cathedral town. A house is being demolished to make room for a department store, and people are reminiscing nostalgically: ‘That was where … Continue reading

Lolly Willowes (1926) by Sylvia Townsend Warner

Book review by Sue R: Sylvia Townsend Warner was a poet, short story writer, novelist and musicologist. She wrote non- fiction works including a biography of T.H. White, and a translation of Proust. She and her partner Valentine Ackland, a poet, were both active in the Communist Party; they worked for Red Cross during the … Continue reading