A Fantastically Great Children’s Book

kate-fantastic-womenIt was a warm Friday evening as I ventured down to the Sunny Bank Mills in Farsley, for the book launch of ‘Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World’ by Kate Pankhurst. As I entered the trendy industrial space of the Gallery there was an immediate buzz in the room of people exploring, drawing, reading, meeting, eating and drinking. There were as many children as there were adults. Kate came over to say hello and introduced me to her adorable new baby Otto. A book launch and a baby, Kate is a super women! Everyone was given a badge which had the illustrations out of the book on. Mine featured Emmeline Pankhurst the suffragette descendant of Kates; of course I immediately pinned it to my top. I had a wander round the mill to see all the fun bits and bobs Kate had set up; from a drawing table where you could draw a woman who is fantastically great to you, to a dressing up trunk filled with props that related to the great women that featured in the book. There was a table filled with tasty treats, the most incredible cakes and of course fizzy, after all this really was a celebration.

kates-book-launchI eventually made it to the table which had piles of the book in both paper back and hard back. I picked up the hard back and had a flick through, that’s when I knew how special this book was. It’s an education, it’s inspirational, every page has a splash of humour, it’s filled with Kate’s gorgeous bright illustrations, and it’s a celebration of women. It’s brimming with fascinating facts and it’s very accessible for different ages and abilities to enjoy, even the grown-ups. The diverse range of women covered in this book is incredible, from Rosa Parks to Frida Kahlo to Jane Austen, and each one of their stories is fascinating. I absolutely love the layout of the pages; each woman get a double page spread as it takes you on a journey through their extraordinary life. We have to thank Kate for her talents in creating such an important children’s book and then do our bit to introduce it to as many children (boys and girls), parents, carers and teachers as possible.

kates-book-launch-2After buying my copy I joined the queue to have it signed and addressed to my little girl. She’s a bit young at the minute to understand the context but that’s why I got the hardback because I want this book to be a staple on her bookshelf at home. Copies will be arriving into Leeds Libraries very soon, reserve it in to your local branch to borrow for free, I know you’ll enjoy reading and exploring it as much as I am.

Blog by Rachel Ingle-Teare, Children’s Librarian

Read Kate Pankhurst’s blog about the event here:-

http://www.katepankhurst.com/2016/09/the-fantastically-great-women-are-go/

 

 

 

Librarian’s Choice: Reduce, Recycle, Re-love

I have been an ardent collector of curios and the second hand for many years. My main thrill is to rummage and forage through other people’s trash to find an item I can refashion and treasure. I am not ashamed to call myself a skip surfer, car boot obsessive and charity shop aficionado.

What started as a means of buying cheap second hand clothes and furnishings as a student became a lifelong obsession with all things old and vintage.  Old and abandoned objects have a story to tell, they connect us to the past, and I am naturally drawn to the nostalgia and style of bygone times.

In this disposable and consumeristic world where ‘old’ is considered antiquated and unfashionable I see an opportunity to breathe new life into things which deserve a second chance. Once restored or up-cycled I have the privilege of owning something that is often unique and  well – crafted  whilst having all the pleasure and satisfaction of having added my own creative flourishes.

Over the years Leeds Libraries have been an amazing resource for books on art and design , interiors and crafts, all of which excite and inspire me. More recently there has seen a blossoming of publications on upcycling. Below I have listed some of my recommendations. Some of the projects I have undertaken at home to good effect, others are on my ‘to do list’ when I can find the time. Some of the books just beckon to be borrowed as the pictures alone are enchanting. You need not be an expert crafter or sewer; all of the projects have easy to follow instructions. and require very few tools. it’s amazing what you can do with a staple gun alone.

I hope you feel inspired to give it a go. Enjoy!

angie-thrifty-chicThrifty chic: interior style on a shoestring by Liz Bauwens

‘Thrifty Chic’ shows you how to revive and revamp to create an eclectic and unique interior style on a shoestring. I particularly like the idea of a striped hand painted staircase. Best to use a quick dry paint for this one and wait till the kids and the dogs are out of the house.

angie-junk-geniusJunk genius: stylish ways to repurpose everyday objects, with over 80 projects and ideas by Juliette Goggin

In this book you’ll find rewarding and money-saving recycling projects. My favourites include lighting made out of old kitchenaliia. It also contains a great chapter on creating jewellery out of old jigsaw pieces, thimbles, typewriter keys and watch faces. A must have ‘book to borrow’ for any Steam Punk fans out there.

angie-repurposed-libraryThe repurposed library by Lisa Occhipinti

A celebration of the possibilities that books have to offer as an art material. This book takes my passion for books one step further, It includes 33 projects to make out of books, my favourites are: a lettered wreath, a literary lampshade; and a book ledge made from beautiful old hardbacks.

angie-reviveRevive!: inspired interiors from recycled materials by Jacqueline Mulvaney

This is the only book where more advanced sewing skills than my own are required. This would suit an intermediate or confident sewer. Whilst I have tackled some basic upholstery in the past I haven’t quite mastered some of the more advanced features of my sewing machine. However, I do have a growing collection of fabrics which are in need of refashioning and embellishing. This book shows you how to make and decorate throws, cushions, curtains and blinds. The Inspiration Board featured is an art piece in itself.

angie-vintageCreating the vintage look: 35 ways to upcycle for a stylish home by Ellie Laycock

This book offers you simple step by step guidance to create unique homewares. It makes you to look at unloved items in a totally new way, and encourages you to think before you throw.
It is a good starting point for anyone new to up-cycling . It is the answer to all your birthday and Christmas conundrums, as from now on you can just DIY it. My favourites are the stamp collection placemats ( I have done this myself with great success ), the cheese grater pen pot, the tea set bird feeders and the dish towel curtain to name just a few…..

angie-recycled-homeRecycled home: transform your home using salvaged materials by Rebecca Proctor

This book features 50 stylish craft projects using salvaged materials, with step-by-step illustrations to guide you through to completion . No special skills are needed.
My favourites include the cosy hot water bottle cover and patchwork book wallpaper. The rag rug bath mat is an on-going project I have yet to complete at home. My main advice to aspiring be rag ruggers is firstly just Do It! Basic rag rugging is really so simple and can even be done in front of the T.V. It is an ideal hobby for all finger twitchers, nail biters and smokers will miraculously cease as they become totally immersed. Alternatively, use it as part of a regular meditative practice whilst listening to music or an absorbing audio book. A tip for free is to start small don’t be overly ambitious in size or scale as in my case it will take forever to finish.

angie-flea-market-chicFlea market chic: the thrifty way to create a stylish home by Liz Bauwens

This book is on my Christmas Wish List, it is crammed full of eclectic interiors which mix the old and new to create a totally unique look. I am particular drawn to the shed and cabins section as my long term ambition is to make the ultimate downsize and move into one!

‘Flea Market Chic’ will show you how to spot the clever find in a pile of junk, where to look and how to negotiate. Sourcing materials need not be expensive or difficult, if you ask around. start with family and friends, use recycling sites such as Freecycle or use the Freeads on Gumtree; Visit your local scrap store whether that be Scrap Shed in Leeds or the Cone Exchange in Harrogate. Start using your local charity shops, for a few pence you are supporting the developing world or helping good causes nearer to home. Even better why not volunteer? Try out online auction sites such as Ebay, bargains are to be had with a little research and patience. Look in roadside skips I’ve always found people are happy to give you things would otherwise have gone to landfill.

angie-fine-little-dayFine little day: ideas, collections and interiors by Elisabeth Dunker

Take a peek into the fascinating life of Elisabeth Dunker: blogger, writer, stylist, designer, photographer and artist. This is a woman of many talents, and the book showcases her unique skill and style. Her handmade pot holder blanket is an inspiration to behold. This book makes me want to move to Scandinavia and live in her cabin!

angie-cheap-chicCheap chic: affordable ideas for a relaxed home by Emily Chalmers

Just a lovely coffee table book, enjoy flicking through the pages for the sheer pleasure of it
If you are in need for inspiration then Pinterest is the answer to all your dreams.  If you have a smart phone or IPad/tablet download the Pinterest App and create your own pin board of ideas.
If you want to have a go selling your handmade wares or turn a crafting hobby into a living then check out crafting websites such as Etsy and Folksy to see what you can sell. They each employ a basic level of quality control so a bowl made out of play dough whilst fun to make probably wouldn’t cut the muster.

angie-rediscovered-treasuresRediscovered treasures by Ellen Dyrop

This book is a ‘must read’ for anyone hoping to style their own wedding as there are centrepieces and accessories that you can make that would add an air of romance to any humble village hall. On my wish list to make is the family heirloom cushion using old transferable photos and would make a thoughtful and memorable present for your nearest and dearest.

angie-thrifty-lampshades50 thrifty DIY lampshades by Adeline Lobut

I’ve never understood why lampshades so expensive to buy when the principle is so easy. What’s more you can use a fabric of your choice and add as many embellishments as your heart desires. The market has begun to recognise the upcycling trend and there are now DIY lampshade kits available to buy. Alternatively, borrow this book from Leeds libraries and have the pleasure of making one from scratch. I love the idea of using old books and men’s ties to create a stand or shade. If you want to show off your eco-friendly credentials there are even instructions for making a living lamp made out of green foliage.

angie-homespun-styleHomespun style by Selina Lake

This is book once borrowed I had to buy..
Indeed why all these books beckon to me is they inspire me to be creative. I hope you are inspired to have a go too!

Angie, Assistant Community Librarian

 

Librarian’s Choice – Absolutely judge these books by their cover

We all judge books by their covers but within this selection what appealed on the exterior is just a glimpse of the visual feast inside. It’s really refreshing to see children’s information books being presented in this illustrative way. This selection is beautiful yet filled with fun and fascinating information. They are all available in Leeds Libraries and you can reserve them into your nearest branch for free.

Rachel Wild animalsWild Animals of the North – Dieter Braun

The imagery in this book is just gorgeous; it has a simple geometric feel but is so rich in colour. This book takes you on a journey to the farthest corners of the northern hemisphere and explores the fantastic creatures that live there. Braun’s illustrations make the animals pop out of every page, its perfect for the young naturalist out there.

 

Rachel Shackletons JourneyShackleton’s Journey – William Grill

This book is filled with tiny clever sketches which make the facts and figures so easy to visualise. I love the maps as you voyage along your Journey to the Antarctica. Grill has a really fun and uncomplicated style which is very appealing and brings this fascinating and brave story alive.

Rachel Something about a bearSomething about a Bear – Jackie Morris

The detail Morris gets using water colour is incredible, the bears just come to life on every page. This book is a bit of a hybrid between a story and an information book, which makes it really accessible for younger children especially when they are being read to. The information is delivered through beautiful wording and even has a little twist at the end. I wonder which your favourite bear will be?

 

Rachel Smart about sharksSmart about sharks – Owen Davey

Davey’s style is so unique; it has a lovely vintage feel and the colours really stand out. This book is filled with fun facts that are backed up by his minimalist yet lavish illustrations. If you love this there is another book call ‘Mad About Monkeys’ which is just as good!

Rachel Frida KhaloFreida Khalo – Eng Gee Fan

This book is part of a new series of children’s biographies ‘Little People, Big Dreams’ telling the stories of remarkable women in history. Each book is illustrated by a different artist and everyone is wonderful. They are the perfect introduction and the pictures on each page are delightful. If you love this one check out ‘Coco Chanel’, it’s fabulous!

 

Rachel AnimaliumAnimalium – Katie Scott

For any family that loves natural history this book is just fantastic; it’s a trip around a 24/7 museum with immaculate exhibits of the world’s finest and most extraordinary creatures. The illustrations are stunning and it’s packed with absorbing facts. I love the larger than average format of this book and can just imagine a family huddled together on the floor flicking through the pages.

 

Blog by Rachel, Children’s Librarian based at Central Library.

Librarian’s Choice – Books and Places

This blog is from Joanne, an Assistant Communities Librarian based in the South of the city.

I look forward to my holiday reading every year and I can remember places I have been by the books I read there. Here is a selection of my most memorable books and places and then a look at the books I have put aside for my holiday this year.

Jo Me before youMe Before You by Jojo Moyes

Outside a caravan in France I sobbed uncontrollably at the end of this book. This is a powerful love story which tackles the issues of disability head on. There is a film out this summer, but once I have read a book I rarely feel I want to see it on the screen. But if it is anything like the book it will be compelling.

Jo And the mountains echoedAnd the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

By the side of Windermere Lake, I followed the twists and turns of a novel that begins in an Afganistan Village and deals with family seperation and the bonds which unite families. I had been a massive fan of this authors previous books. The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns and I wasn’t disappointed with this book or the wonderful lake views, even if it was pouring with rain.

Jo We need to talk about kevinWe need to talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver

I don’t think I would ever have picked this book up, but my daughter was starting A level English in the September and it was on her reading list. She was determined to go off and enjoy the sights and sounds of  Puerto Pollensa in Majorca. I was quite happy to stay on the sun bed and tackle her Reading List. This is a powerful book and you can see why it was on the AS reading list. It has many layers.  The tale of Kevin who is a teenager killer is told through the eyes of his mother. It forces you to think about your parenting and how much you can decide the destiny of your children. I certainly didn’t have much control over my daughter’s nocturnal life style on that holiday. However, it turned out to be a book we both loved and still discuss.

This year I am staying close to home for holidays, but have already planned some reading. It’s a mix this year. Having worked in the Public Library for 6 months I have loved having such a wide selection at my finger tips.

Jo go set a watchmanGo Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

One of my favourite books of all time is To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee and I still haven’t read the much talked about Go set a Watchman.The reviews are mixed but it will be interesting to revisit the characters of Atticus and Scout  and see how the father/daughter relationship developed. One of my favourite quotes of all times comes from To Kill a Mocking Bird;

“ You never really understand a person until you climb into their shoes and walk around in them”. How true……

jo after youAfter You by Jojo Moyes

Having so enjoyed Me before you, I am going to give this a go. I must remember to pack the tissues.

jo collected poems larkinCollected Poems by Philip Larkin

And finally, after being inspired at a recent poetry workshop run by a colleague, I need to revisit some poetry. I always loved Philip Larkin, so I am going to give him another go. Happy holidays and Happy reading………..

Keep them occupied!

The summer holidays are here! Time for kicking back and relaxing. Or, if you are a parent of children of a certain age, a six week quest to keep them occupied. Here in Leeds Libraries we have just bought a whole load of new children’s non fiction books that should be arriving in your local library any time now and we have a range that should be of interest, whatever your child is in to. If the right book doesn’t make it to your library, then you can reserve it for free to bring it to you.

Crafters and Artists

My daughter could, from an early age, create anything she wanted provided that we had sellotape and paper. Sometimes you need to harness those creatives and this selection of books should do just that.

CNF lets sewLet’s Sew, pub Dorling Kindersley

Your child will learn how to sew in no time with this book. From threading needles and sewing a running stitch to following patterns, ‘Let’s Sew’ teaches your child how to create their very own collection of eye-catching toys and accessories, including a decorated book bag, felt elephants, and jungle-themed pen toppers.

CNF Paper craftsPaper Crafts by Annalees Lim

This series is aimed at kids who love to be creative. By following the clear and simple step-by-step instructions, they will be able to create fashionable, original, cute, and humerous creations.

CNF How to drawHow to draw by Nick Sharratt

Jacqueline Wilson’s world of characters has been brought to life brilliantly with Nick Sharratt’s illustrations. Now your budding artist can learn how to draw them themselves.

CNF 23 ways23 ways to be a great artist: a step by step guide to creating artwork inspired by famous masterpieces by Jennifer McCully

This text is for aspiring artists. The book is packed full of step-by-step projects for crafty kids eager to discover the secrets to creating a masterpiece.

Scientists

Is your child the kind that likes to take things to bits as well as putting them together because they want to see how it works? These books are for them.

CNF SpaceSpace pub Franklin

Planets, asteroids, space travel and exploration are just some of the incredible topics you will learn about in this book. Discover what they are, what we know about them and how scientists intend to find out more about them.

CNF ExperimentsSuper Science: experiments!: 80 cool experiments to try at home by Tom Adams

This exciting lift-the-flap novelty book is packed with simple science experiments for kids to try at home. Each page will see keen young scientists try their hands at anything from building bridges to making food explode and mixing up meringues – all in the name of science! Every experiment is accompanied by a simple explanation of the science involved, making it hands-on educational fun.

CNF wacky scienceTotally wacky facts about exploring space by Emma Carlson Berne

Do you know which astronaut played golf on the moon? Ever wondered how much a space suit weighs? Have you thought about what astronauts do with their dirty underwear? Out-of-this-world facts and a bright, bold design will keep struggling and reluctant readers wanting more!

CNF your bonesYour Bones by Sally Hewitt

How many bones are in your body? Which bone protects your brain? What are bones made of? Find the answers to these questions and much, much more in this picture-packed introduction to the human body.

CNF OceanOcean: a children’s encyclopedia by John Woodward

A stunning visual encyclopedia for kids, packed with stunning photography and amazing facts on every aspect of ocean life. From the Arctic to the Caribbean, tiny plankton to giant whales, sandy beaches to the deepest depths, our oceans are brought to life with astonishing images.
The Next Bill Gates
Makes those hours in front of a screen mean something. Let them make the game, not just play it!
CNF Learn to programLearn to program by Heather Lyons
This looks at the basics of programming – what is an algorithm, basic languages and building a simple program. We then look at how simple programs can be developed to include decision making and repeat activities, and then how they can be fixed using debugging techniques. Throughout the book there are practical activities to assist learning, and links to online activities where they can practice newly learned skills.
By breaking this daunting subject down into the 10 ‘super skills’ needed, young readers can to get to grips with computer coding, and build on their skills as they progress through the book.
CNF Maths journey
Go on a real-life maths journey to practice the core topics of numbers, geometry, statistics, ratio and proportion, algebra and measurement. Through data visualisation methods, including colourful diagrams, pictograms, illustrations, photographs and infographics, ‘Go Figure!’ brings maths into the real world in an innovative, exciting and engaging visual way. It makes even the trickiest problem easier to understand and builds valuable confidence in maths!

 

 

 

 

Librarian’s Choice – Ferret Books

Generally when I ask a librarian to recommend a selection of books for the blog, I know what sort of books that I might get. However this list has come from total leftfield. These books are compiled by Montse, an Assistant Community Librarian based in the East of the city. I hope it is useful for anyone who is, or wants to be a ferret lover!

Dogs, cats, rabbits and hamsters are 4 of the most usual pets people have at home. Fish, reptiles and birds come next; you’ll find ferrets towards the end of the list. You may have seen ferrets racing through pipes at country and game fairs, or biting Richard Whiteley on telly back on 1977 (if you are not just a nipper).

Maybe you know someone who keeps ferrets or perhaps you may be thinking of getting one or two yourself? Whichever the case you’ll find many a book in the library to furnish you with knowledge and tell you all about how to look after, care, train and enjoy playing or even hunt with ferrets. Here are a few I’ve borrowed myself. I keep my friend’s 3 jill at home on a “part-time” basis and I’ve learned lots by reading these books.

Montse Ferrets McKimmeyFerrets by Vickie McKimmey

Ferrets are lively, domestic pets that can provide great entertainment and companionship. In this book you can find out how to prepare your house for adopting a ferret, as well as essential care information to ensure he is healthy and happy. It has about 100 pages of information from pet care and animal experts—with a family-friendly design, over 60 full-colour photographs, and helpful tip boxes. It comes also with advice on feeding, housing, grooming, training, health care, and fun activities.

Montse Ferrets RickardFerrets: Care and Breeding by Ian C. Rickard

The author is an experienced ferret owner and breeder and he provides the reader with lots of info about all aspects of the ferret’s care and management. It looks at the history, origins, and scientific classification of ferrets; their anatomy and physiology; handling and housing; breeding and rearing; feeding and nutritional requirements; colour-breeding genetics and colour standards for showing; and health and welfare. This is a very useful book if you’re thinking of not just keeping but breeding ferrets.

Montse Ferret SchillingFerrets for Dummies by Kim Schilling

Like any other “for dummies” book here you’ve got THE ultimate reference to all aspects of keeping a ferret. Almost 400 pages – I still haven’t finished reading my own copy – of information organised by chapters so you can go directly to the topic you need. So there’s extra info on things like diets, teeth, diseases, housing, games, vets, etc. etc. The only downside is that it’s not as colourful and hasn’t got as many illustrations as other books.

Monste Ferret BuckleHalf my Facebook friends are ferrets by J.A. Buckle

Ok, so this is not a reference book but Teenage Fiction, but you learn one or two things about ferrets when you read about Josh’s life in his diary and his struggle to achieve some goals before he’s 16. When I picked this book I thought he was going to have lots of ferrets (by looking at the title) but he only has one, Ozzy, who bites and escapes of its cage all the time. Easy read, very funny and realistic; many subjects other than ferrets are included in this book like being popular, becoming a rock star, girlfriends, life at home when you are a teen, etc. totally recommended if you want a good laugh.

Montse Ferret WhiteheadFerreting: An Essential Guide by Simon Whitehead

Here’s a really good book by a professional ferreter with lots of information about how to catch rabbits using ferrets and nets. He gives good advice on looking after the ferrets, transport, collars and finder units, working together with dogs, nets and digging, and the like; but also you’ll learn about rabbits, their habits, feeding, and behaviour. You may not need this book if you just want to keep ferrets as pets, but it will be appreciated by those with and interest in country pursuits.

Monste Ferret WellsteadThe Ferret and Ferreting guide by Graham Wellstead

I liked this book very much because it gives clear and useful information about ferrets in all main aspects and it’s a good guide to read when you are a beginner. Advice is given on selecting ferrets, their care, feeding and housing, and how to breed from them. It has some funny anecdotes by the author and  his experiences on training ferrets to hunt; the techniques and use of equipment is fully described and there is a guide to the legal aspects of hunting. Distinguishing coat colours in B&W photos was a bit tricky, though.

Montse Ferret BuckleStudies in the art of rat-catching by H.C. Barkley

This is a very special and old book, published in 1896, and you will only find it in the Information and Research department of the Central Library. It’s reference only, so no taking home allowed. Despite the book’s title, as much of the content is devoted to ferrets and rabbit control as it is to rat catching. It details such varied subjects as Ratting Tools, Learning Dog Language, Rabbit Catching, Long Netting, Ratting Dogs etc. This excellent title is recommended for all true countrymen. Many of the earliest sporting books, particularly those dating back to the 1800s, are now extremely scarce and very expensive, so having a read of this book for free makes you feel part of a lucky elite.

Montse Ferret ColsonFerret (the pet to get) by Rob Colson

This is a good reference book for children; aimed at 9+ year olds, it gives easy to understand information and advice about what entitles to have a ferret as a pet. This book is a good read is you need to decide whether a ferret (or ferrets) would be a suitable pet for you and your children. It tells about character and behaviour, good and bad habits, how to look after them, etc. It also has a section about polecats and hunting with ferrets. With 32 pages this book is not too long to bore and has lovely photos.

Montse Ferret McNicholasFerrets (keeping ‘unusual’ pets) by June McNicholas

This is another really good book for children as introduction to ferrets. It explains the good points and not-so-good points about keeping ferrets and how to become the carer of healthy animals. Find out about the basic requirements, such as housing, food, water and exercise, and how to provide companionship for your ferrets. It contains information on the natural behaviour of ferrets, expert advice and tips on how to be a good ferret carer and a glossary of difficult and unusual terms.

Montse Ferret FrainThe Pet Ferret Handbook by Seán Frain

I haven’t read this book myself but the synopsis given online sounds quite good: “specifically designed for keepers of domestic ferrets in homes and apartments, this book covers the history of the ferret, how to choose the right pet, housing, feeding, house training, hygiene, exercise, breeding and even exhibiting.” The author is a well-known Patterdale terrier breeder from Cumbria, who has written lots of books on related subjects. It will definitely go onto my “To Read” list.

Librarian’s Choice -Past Favourites

This weeks blog is from Lynn, one of our Senior Communities Librarians. There are some real classic blasts from the past here, as well as a more recent recommendation.

Although I’m an avid reader of crime I thought I would give you a taste of some of my favourites from the past, starting with

Lynn Lady of HayLady of Hay – Barbara Erskine

I can’t believe this book is 30 years old!

This story is about Jo Clifford a successful 20th Century journalist, who is set to debunk the idea of past life regression but when she is regressed under hypnosis she finds herself reliving the experiences of Matilda, the Lady of Hay, the wife of a baron at the time of King John.

Jo learns of Matilda’s unhappy marriage and of her love for another man and of the brutal threats of death at the hands of King John.

The plot is full of twists and turns as Matilda’s life and pain threaten to take Jo’s life as she spontaneously regresses…………………

Lynn Lorna DooneLorna Doone – RD Blackmore

A teenage favourite!

Lorna Doone is a romance set in 17th Century in Somerset and Devon and is the story of John Ridd a farmer who finds love amid religious and social turmoil. John is just a boy when his father a respectable farmer is murdered by the outlawed Doones, a lawless clan who live in Exmoor. Battling his desire for revenge John also grows into a respectable farmer looking after his mother and siblings. He falls in love with Lorna a girl he meets by accident who turns out to be the granddaughter of the Lord of Doones and is destined to marry (against her will) Carver Doone. A tale of secrets, lies and deceit. A fantastic story of star crossed lovers.

Lynn RebeccaRebecca – Daphne Du Maurier

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again”

The novel begins in Monte Carlo where our orphaned lady’s maid is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter- carried along on her giddy adventure it’s not until they arrive at his impressive country estate that she realises the threat his late wife is to their new relationship. Young, shy and socially awkward the new Mrs De Winter finds herself lonely and alone as she battles to establish herself as the lady of the house in a tense, sinister household headed by the mean and spiteful Mrs Danvers who is loyal to the ghostly presence of Rebecca. Surprisingly scary with a psychological edge.

Lynn Black BeautyBlack Beauty – Anna Sewell

One of my favourite childhood stories.

Black Beauty is a horse with a fine black coat, a white foot and a silver star on his forehead, a real beauty indeed.

Seen through his eyes, the story tells of his idyllic upbringing living on Farmer Grey’s farm with his Mum frolicking in the fields. When he turns four he’s trained to carry riders and pull carriages and then sold and goes to live at Birtwick Hall where he meets Merrylegs, Ginger and Sir Oliver.

Hardship and cruelty follow as he is sold to a number of different homes and worked hard until he collapses from overwork before he finds security and happiness in a new home.

Lynn Little WomenLittle Women – Louisa May Alcott

The novel follows the lives of four sisters, Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy detailing their passage from childhood to womanhood. The four girls live with their Marmee in genteel poverty, whilst their father is away fighting in the American Civil War. Their mother encourages them to be the best version of themselves at all times and to celebrate their uniqueness, which for some of the sisters is hard, they pull together as a family in times of need, the loss of loved ones, feelings of failure, talent unappreciated, fear of the future and ever changing family dynamics just a few of the situations the family have to deal with.

Any finally something a little more up to date;

Lynn Elizabeth is missingElizabeth is missing – Emma Healey

Maud an ageing gran is slowly losing her memory – yet she refuses to forget her best friend Elizabeth who she believes is missing and in terrible danger, no one will listen.

Vivid memories of a tragedy that occurred more than fifty years ago come flooding back, could Sukey’s disappearance hold the key to finding Elizabeth – a hauntingly beautiful book.