Recent arrivals

All my Book Depository preorders are coming home to roost! I ordered these lovely books months ago, as soon as I knew they were on the horizon, so it’s been a real treat to come home & find packages on the doorstep this week. Vintage have reprinted Nancy Mitford’s four historical biographies. I’ve bought Voltaire in Love & Frederick the Great but not The Sun King or Madame de Pompadour, which I already own. I also have the Capuchin editions of Christmas Pudding & Pigeon Pie to come but they’re not published until the end of the month.

Alison Weir is one of my favourite writers of historical biography & her latest subject is Mary Boleyn. Mary has always been quite a shadowy figure. She avoided the fall of her sister, Anne, & brother, George but has been best known for having been the mistress of two kings – Francis I of France & Henry VIII. In recent years, Mary has been the subject of historical novels including Philippa Gregory’s The Other Boleyn Girl which started that dreadful fashion for headless women on book covers, as well as perpetuating some of the myths about Mary & her character & starting a few new ones. I’m looking forward to seeing what Alison Weir has managed to discover about the real Mary.

I’ve only become a fan of the novels of Georgette Heyer in the last few years. I didn’t read Regency romances as a teenager which seems to be the time when most women fall in love with Heyer’s heroes. I started reading her books with the encouragement of my online bookgroup, some of whom are big fans & know the books backwards. So, I asked for recommendations & read A Civil Contract which I enjoyed very much. I prefer the books with older heroines – I’m too old to have much in common with young flibbertigibbets – & since then, I’ve enjoyed half a dozen more including Lady of Quality, The Black Sheep, The Reluctant Widow & The Nonesuch. So, I was pleased to hear about this new biography of Heyer who was a notoriously private woman. I’d read Jane Aiken Hodge’s biography but there was still a lot to be discovered & Jennifer Kloester has worked on her book for over 10 years. She had the help of Jane Aiken Hodge & Heyer’s son & I’m hoping for lots of detail about how she wrote her books which are famous for the extensive research & accuracy of historical detail. There’s been a bit of a kerfuffle in the Press already about comments Heyer made about Dame Barbara Cartland, accusing her of plagiarism. You can also hear an interview with Kloester & Katie Fforde on the BBC here. Just scroll down to Chapter 3 at the bottom of the page. Speaking of Jane Aiken Hodge, there’s a novelist who I would love to see reprinted. Very much in the vein of Mary Stewart. I have fond memories of her romantic suspense novels, often with historical settings like Watch the Wall My Darling & Greek Wedding. Those 1970s Pan paperback covers bring back a lot of memories.

So, what to read first? I have no idea!

10 thoughts on “Recent arrivals

  1. I love the covers on the Nancy Mitford re-prints, but then I am sadly very shallow about that sort of thing, having bought quite a few on the strength of the cover alone recently!
    Those 70's covers for the Jane Aiken Hodge books do bring back memories and some of them look very familiar so I must have read at least one or two – even though I can't remember any more about them.

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  2. It has been ages since I've read a book by Weir but that would be the one I'd crack open first. She has a real knack for writing non-fiction in a page-turning sort of way.

    Was thrilled to get an email from TBD this morning announcing the release of my pre-order for Greenbanks!

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  3. Marg, JAH's novels were some of my favouritres when I was a teenager. I think I read nearly everything she wrote. Hannah, TBD have always been good, especially with the free postage to Australia! Although I admit I've slightly defected to Amazon since they started offering free postage as well. Liz, I can't resist a beautiful cover, I don't think it's shallow at all. Darlene, I can't wait for Greenbanks either. I wonder how many more Whipples there are for Persephone to reprint? I enjoy Alison Weir's books although I haven't read any of her fiction. I've just finished a biography of King Æthelstan so it may be awhile before I get to Mary Boleyn. Jo, I'm sure I'll review it when I get to it. My next book probably won't be any of these!

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  4. I also came to Georgette Heyer as an adult and have really enjoyed (save a couple) the books I've read. I also enjoyed the Aiken bio but she seemed to talk almost as much about the books themselves as Heyer, so I can see where there may be more to write about–she seems like such an interesting (and formidable) woman! After I read the Aiken bio I ordered a couple of Aiken's books as well, and now must dig them out–I haven't had a chance yet to read them. And I will have to add the new Heyer bio to my own wishlist! Enjoy your new books–love the Vintage covers (as always!).

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  5. Thanks Dani, I have no idea what I'll read first – probably none of these but something else instead. Still, that's the joy of a tbr mountain. One day I'll be in the mood for one of these & it wil be there.

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  6. I'm a recent convert to Heyer as well. In honor of the season, I'm currently reading one of her mysteries, FOOTSTEPS IN THE DARK.

    I've read several of her other mysteries and quite liked them.

    But I think I prefer her regencies, at least the ones I've recently read: THE TALISMAN RING and THE NONESUCH. I reviewed THE TALISMAN RING on my blog and had so much fun. The book is a total joy. Can't imagine why it hasn't been turned into a play.

    I also read THE CIVIL CONTRACT and liked that very much as well. I am eagerly looking forward to reading more Heyer since I found that my library has a nice list of them.

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  7. Yvette, I read all GH's mysteries years ago but only started reading her romances a few years ago. I loved The Nonesuch & I have Talisman Ring on the tbr shelves.

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