I've been just about to burst wanting to make this announcement, but we have had a few delays thanks to our friend the coronavirus. We also have a slightly leaner batch of new titles this time out for the same reason, but though it's a smaller number of books than we originally intended, they are, in my own slightly biased opinion, the crème de la crème.
We are also, with this batch, reaching an exciting turning point—the "half century" mark as it were. No, we have not been publishing for 50 years, of course, though is it just me or does time seem to move very fast in isolation, one day being very much like any other? But we will, as of the beginning of August, have published more then 50 titles, which is extraordinary indeed, and which of course couldn't have happened without the support of you lovely readers. Thanks so much to all of you who have purchased our books, or blogged or tweeted about them, or told friends about them!
My intended "theme" for this time, planned well before our current situation evolved but wonderfully appropriate for the pure escapism we all need a bit of these days, was "cheerful village comedies". And I'm delighted with all six of our new titles, but there's one in particular that has been on my publishing wish list since our very first batch back in 2016 (happily, we have finally tracked down the author's heirs and got the okay). It's not only one of my favorite finds as a blogger, but one of my favorite novels of all time, period, which is why I had to assign it the coveted number 50 on our list.
Miss Plum and Miss Penny, which I reviewed here, is a rollicking dark comedy about the havoc caused by a (supposedly) suicidal young woman in the contented life of middle-aged Miss Penny and her eccentric fellow villagers. I re-read it last year and loved it even more than the first time. It's also a marvelous winter novel, making humorous use of ice skating and Christmas caroling, among other things, something I love reading about (particularly on a sunny, warm day in San Francisco).
|The Chicago Tribune reviewed Miss Plum and Miss Penny side-by-side|
with the third Fairacre novel from Miss Read, a happy bit
of critical kismet to be sure
Next up is the title one sharp reader already came across on Amazon, but happily she didn't spoil my surprise.
I've been a fan of RUTH ADAM ever since reading Persephone's reprint of A Woman's Place and an old Virago copy of I'm Not Complaining. But her most underappreciated book is surely A House in the Country, a novel based very much on her own experiences attempting, with a group of friends, to make a go of living in a massive but disheveled manor house in Kent in the years just after World War II. I reviewed it here. It's delightful fun, but also packed with Adam's inimitable social awareness, particularly in regard to the prior inhabitants of the house, both upstairs and downstairs.
Adam was one of two authors in this batch suggested by readers on my "possibly Furrowed Middlebrow" posts last year (see here). Next up is the other one...
Another of my "top shelf" novels is the glorious Miss Mole, by E. H. YOUNG. I discussed this one here, albeit in far less detail than such a lovely book deserved. And what with the British Library's new series of women writers reprinting Young's Chatterton Square with an afterword by Simon Thomas from Stuck in a Book, we are at long last seeing a bit of a resurgence of a profoundly underappreciated author.
Of course, underappreciated is my middle name, so the last two authors are more obscure by far even than the first three.
Like Miss Plum, CELIA BUCKMASTER was one of my first "discoveries" as a blogger, and she's also been on my wish list from the very beginning. So I'm very excited to finally be able to make her two funny, quirky tales of village life available to a wider audience. I first wrote about Buckmaster here, after coming across her name in Nicola Beauman's biography of Elizabeth Taylor, and went on to read and love her two novels, reviewed here and here. They received considerable acclaim when first published and they deserve to be more widely read.
And finally, as in numerous cases before, I owe a debt of gratitude to Grant Hurlock for making it possible for me to even read, let alone reprint, DOROTHY LAMBERT's delightful village comedy, Much Dithering, reviewed here. Lambert is one of those authors who, labeled "romance" writers in their day, was actually much more. I'm working my way through several of her other novels which Grant has also made available to me, but in the meantime I'm happy to be able to give you all a sampling of her charm.
And that's it for this slightly truncated batch of reprints. All to be available in paperback and in e-book around the first of August.
Hopefully you'll find some happy hours of reading with these, and we're already planning a new batch for January 2021, including, if all goes according to plan, one title we expected to include in this batch, but the finalizing of rights for which has been delayed due to lockdowns and such. I'm dying to tell you about it, but I just can't.
In short, more to come!