#BookReviews #PersephoneReadathon The Fortnight in September by R.C.Sherriff and Flush by Virginia Woolf

My time doing the Persephone Readathon seems to be a big success this time round! Have found myself finishing the 2 books I’d set out to read – who knows, I might even find time to fit one more in before the end!  My thanks to Jessie at Dwell In Possibility for hosting another fabulous readathon, and making me want to keep adding to my Persephone collection!

Here’s my thoughts on the 2 wonderful books that I’ve managed to read – so far! – for this readathon!

THE FORTNIGHT IN SEPTEMBER by R.C.SHERRIFF – 5 stars

I think the brilliance of this book is its’ simplicity! There are no gimmicks, there’s not a lot that really happens! Other than you get to follow a family in the build up, and then on, their yearly 2 week holiday to the seaside. 

They go to the same place every year and have perfected the art of the routine of preparing to leave and then following the ‘same proceedure as every year’ (my nod to The Dinner For One sketch!) and how the years have gone by that small changes are beginning to appear in what happens and what each person gets from their break.

The preparation is meticulous, especially by the father. It’s like a military operation with him organising everyone to sort the ‘to do list’ – who to leave pets with, what food to leave in the fridge, which neighbour to leave the keys with – and we get to see this build up from his point of view and then from his wife’s which is slightly different. She is a quiet woman who pretends she enjoys this time, but underneath she’s very anxious and seems to just go through the motions for the sake of her family.

The boarding house they go to has seen a number of changes, not for the best, over the years but they feel duty bound to go there as the owner has become like family to them – their sense of loyalty is overwhelming. 

With the children getting older, they all seem to have different thoughts on how their holiday should be spent – the father enjoys time alone walking, the eldest of the children are beginning to enjoy a little bit of freedom – and seeing the changes in their characters as they experience different things on the holiday allows them all to breathe a little bit more when they’re around one another.

It gives them all time to dwell on achievements and disappointments they’ve all faced in the past, and seeing how they can become different people entirely when they’re around others. It also makes them appreciate the simple pleasures, especially when they encounter their fathers’ boss whose aim in life seems to be showing off his wealth with no regard for others – his vulgarity makes the family appreciate all that their father does for them.

And just as they settle into their ‘holiday mode’ their fortnight is up – a feeling we’ve all gone through and I think that’s what makes this book so appealing! It captures the feelings and the escape that a holiday can bring for a family and all those little details that make or break a day in that fortnight and the family dynamic.

A truly lovely read!!

FLUSH by VIRGINIA WOOLF – 4 stars

An enchanting ‘dog biog’ that allows you to see the world from the perspective of Flush and all he encounters in his life, starting in the country and then late in the city as the pet of Elizabeth Barrett Browning who is often confined to her room with a mystery sickness and Flush keeps her company 24/7. 

His early life is one of freedom in the countryside, so when he starts his new life in the city it is completely alien to him – the noise, the smells, the lack of freedom and he spends many years in a life of rigid routine and you sense his frustration but he accepts the restrictions as he’s devoted to his owner.

As her health improves, he finds that she’s not entirely devoted to him as her attention is taken by the dashing Mr Browning, who Flush takes an instant dislike to. Flush soon finds himself living in very difficult circumstances and it makes Elizabeth realise how important he is to her.

I found this to be a touching portrait of a dog living different lives over the years in different places and loved the way he was portrayed – the things he noticed about what was going on at the time with many touches of humour that added so much to the story and made it feel very ‘human’. Thoroughly enjoyable!

Persephone Readathon #3 – count me in!! #PersephoneReadathon #BookBlogger

One of my favourite discoveries of recent years has been the wonderful world of  Persephone Books so any excuse to spend time reading them is fine by me! Thankfully the lovely Jessie of  Dwell In Possibility sets up regular Persephone Readathons and there’s another one starting tomorrow – May 31st 2019 – and lasting until June 9th, where we all get to wallow in the loveliness that is Persephone books and there’s an opportunity to discuss all things connected! 

There are no real rules – just choose to read as much or as little Persephone over the week that you can, and this time there’s also a Persephone Readalong which you can choose to take part in as well so we can all discuss what we think of that chosen book.

I have a steadily growing colllection of 28 Persephone Books so it’s never easy choosing which ones to pick for a Readathon, but I was in a charity shop the other day and luckily managed to find a perfect condition Persephone for £1 so I had to snap it up and I think that is going to be my main focus for the week ahead

THE FORTNIGHT IN SEPTEMBER by R.C.SHERRIFF

The Fortnight in September embodies the kind of mundane normality the men in the dug-out longed for – domestic life at 22 Corunna Road in Dulwich, the train journey via Clapham Junction to the south coast, the two weeks living in lodgings and going to the beach every day. The family’s only regret is leaving their garden where, we can imagine, because it is September the dahlias are at their fiery best: as they flash past in the train they get a glimpse of their back garden, where ‘a shaft of sunlight fell through the side passage and lit up the clump of white asters by the apple tree.’ This was what the First World War soldiers longed for; this, he imagined, was what he was fighting for and would return to (as in fact Sherriff did).

He had had the idea for his novel at Bognor Regis: watching the crowds go by, and wondering what their lives were like at home, he ‘began to feel the itch to take one of those families at random and build up an imaginary story of their annual holiday by the sea…I wanted to write about simple, uncomplicated people doing normal things.’ 

📚📚📚

The Readalong book is available as a free download here

FLUSH by VIRGINIA WOOLF

This story of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s cocker spaniel, Flush, enchants right from the opening pages. Although Flush has adventures of his own with bullying dogs, horrid maids, and robbers, he also provides the reader with a glimpse into Browning’s life. Introduction by Trekkie Ritchie.

📚📚📚

Are you a fan of Persephone? Will you be joining in the readathon?! I hope so and look forward to seeing what everyone else is reading using the  #PersephoneReadathon tag on social media!!

HAPPY PERSEPHONE READING!!

#BookReview The Runaway by Elizabeth Anna Hart #PersephoneReadathon

Sad to see another Persephone Readathon come to an end – thanks to Jessie at Dwell In Possibility for hosting another wonderful spell of reading! Hope there’ll be another one very soon!

Had hoped to read 2 Persephone books this time round, but just managed the one as had too many other books to read. But it was a goodie so made the time fly by and so enjoyable! It ended up being my bedtime read and I was eager to get to bed every night just to read some more!

THE RUNAWAY by ELIZABETH ANNA HART  

 

This 1872 novel by a mid-Victorian poet and novelist is about a girl named Clarice, living with her widowed father and her governess ‘in a charming home at a convenient (railway) distance from the city.’ One day she finds a girl of her own age hiding in the shrubbery. She is Olga and ‘there is no question that she is the liveliest child character in English fiction’ said the Observer in 1936

Published by Persephone Books

MY REVIEW  – 4 stars

A sweet and charming read which is definitely lifted by the inclusion of some beautiful illustrations that work so well with the storyline.

Clarice is a young girl who likes to do things the right way and isn’t one to ‘play up’ but when she finds a runaway hiding in the grounds, she starts telling lies for the first time in her life to help keep Olga a secret, hidden away in her closet while trying to make her do the right thing and return home and let her family know where she is.

Olga is a peculiar and feisty young girl – she has run away as she’s not happy but keeping quiet isn’t her greatest forte so she likes to play tricks on the members of the household where Clarice lives, despite Clarice telling her to stay quiet and hidden! It doesn’t seem in her nature to do so and causes members of the staff to worry there’s strange things going on in the house.

This was lots of fun to read and would suit readers of all ages! It has that innocence about it that was refreshing to read and is one of the sweetest books I’ve read in quite a while!

                                            👧👧👧👧

Persephone Readathon #2 – count me in!!

As my love for those little grey books grow, I can never turn down a chance to take part in a Persephone Readathon and the lovely Jessie at Dwell In Possibility is hosting another fab readathon for all of those who need an excuse to pick up a new  Persephone book!

It’s a casual affair so you can read as much or as little as you’d like and join in on the Social media side with the hashtag  #PersephoneReadathon !

So my plan is to try and take another book or two off my Persephone TBR pile!

THE BLANK WALL by ELISABETH SANXAY HOLDING

A suburban matron, harassed by wartime domestic problems – her husband is overseas – finds herself implicated in the murder of her young daughter’s extremely unattractive beau. This novel is about maternal love and about the heroine’s relationship with those around her, especially her children and her maid.

THE RUNAWAY by ELIZABETH ANNA HART

This 1872 novel by a mid-Victorian poet and novelist is about a girl named Clarice, living with her widowed father and her governess ‘in a charming home at a convenient (railway) distance from the city.’ One day she finds a girl of her own age hiding in the shrubbery. She is Olga and ‘there is no question that she is the liveliest child character in English fiction’ said the Observer in 1936.

💜💜💜💜💜

Have you read either of these? Just noticed that they’re both by an Elizabeth! That wasn’t intentional!!

HAPPY READING!!

Mini Persephone Readathon 1st – 3rd June 2018

Any excuse to pick up another Persephone is fine by me, and so I’ll be excited to take part in this little mini persephone readathon, hosted by the lovely Jessie over at DwellInPossibility  and it’s just a little laid back affair – my favourite kind of affair! – and just gives us a chance to read and chat all things Persephone!

Be sure to share your readathon experience and follow along with #PersephoneReadathon on social media as well.

And it is never easy to decide which book to pick up for these things, but I’ve gone for Harriet by Elizabeth Jenkins.  I know very little about this book other than it’s based on a real life case, so I’m trying to avoid as many spoilers as I can and will just dive in and see how I get on with it – it has received rave reviews so that fills me with great hope!

When a handsome, unscrupulous fortune hunter approaches Harriet, a young woman of means whom most people would call half-witted, no good can result. Elizabeth Jenkins’s artistry, however, transforms the bare facts of this case from the annals of Victorian England’s Old Bailey into an absolutely spine-chilling exploration of the depths of human depravity.

✿✿✿

Have you read this book? Will you be taking part in the readathon? Look forward to seeing what everyone else picks up that weekend!!