There are some very exciting books to look forward to in the next few months. Nancy Mitford fans have lots of lovely reprints to look forward to & an intriguing biography as well. Vintage are reprinting four of Mitford’s historical biographies, Voltaire in Love, Frederick the Great, The Sun King & Madame de Pompadour. The Vintage covers are in this lovely sepia look. Capuchin are reprinting two more Mitford novels, Pigeon Pie & Christmas Pudding.
There’s also a new book by Lisa Hilton about the relationship between Nancy Mitford & the love of her life, Gaston Palewski. Variously titled Nancy & the Colonel or The Horror of Love, it concentrates on this central relationship of Mitford’s life.
I’ve only discovered the novels of Georgette Heyer in the last few years & I’ve read Jane Aiken Hodge’s biography but I’m looking forward to Jennifer Kloester’s new biography of Heyer. Heyer was famously private & Jane Aiken Hodge was left with great gaps in her biography because Heyer covered her tracks so well. I hope Kloester has managed to delve a little deeper. Kloester has also written a companion to the novels, Georgette Heyer’s Regency World.
Next year is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens & there are dozens of books on the way. The one book on Dickens that I can’t wait for is Claire Tomalin’s biography. I’ve read all Tomalin’s books & she is one of my favourite biographers. Her book on Dickens’s relationship with Nelly Ternan, The Invisible Woman, is one of my favourite books. Another book to look forward to is Lucinda Dickens Hawksley’s illustrated biography of her great-great-great-grandfather. A little further away is Michael Slater’s forthcoming book. The latest Dickensian journal describes it as “the history of the scandalmongering about Dickens’s relationship with Ellen Ternan”. I can’t wait!
Alison Weir is another biographer whose books I always look forward to & her new book is about Mary Boleyn, sister of the more famous Anne. Mary has always been on the sidelines of history so I’m very interested to see what Alison Weir has managed to discover. She was the mistress of Francis I of France & Henry VIII. She then married a gentleman of the Court & slid into obscurity. You can read more about it here.
Sort Of Books reprinted Maria Edgeworth’s novel, Helen, a couple of years ago & I’m ashamed to say it’s still sitting on the tbr shelves. They are about to reprint another of her novels, Patronage. They use the line, Jane Austen’s bestselling rival, on the covers of the books & whether or not that’s strictly true (or just an excuse to get Jane’s name on the front cover), I do want to read some of her novels soon. I think these are lovely editions.
Another project coming up in September is the Bloomsbury Reader. This is an initiative to bring authors back into print, either as POD books or e-books. The author I’m very keen to read more of is Monica Dickens. I’ve only read Mariana, reprinted by Persephone & I have Persephone’s reprint of The Winds of Heaven on the tbr shelves.
Some time away but a definite treat in store for Persephone fans is Bridget Rech’s forthcoming biography of Dorothy Whipple. I don’t know when the book will be published but I’m sure it will send me back for a Whipple reread. Until then, we’ll have to contain our impatience with the next Persephone reprint of her novels, Greenbanks, due in November.
So, while I’m waiting for all these books, what am I reading right now? Lots of classic fiction. I’m reading Evelina by Fanny Burney, Garthowen : the story of a Welsh homestead by Allen Raine (for my 19th century bookgroup), Sylvia’s Lovers by Elizabeth Gaskell (in instalments with another group) & this afternoon, I’ll be settling down with this month’s section of War & Peace for Team Tolstoy over at Dovegreyreader. The 21st century seems very far away at the moment.
All the book covers are from The Book Depository.