Wednesday, February 24, 2021

COMING SOON: Nine new Furrowed Middlebrow books from Dean Street Press, available June 2021!

My two favorite times of year are the times I finally get to reveal, after months of excitement on my part, the next set of Furrowed Middlebrow titles from Dean Street Press. It so happens that that time has arrived again!

When I mentioned an upcoming announcement a few weeks ago, I said the new titles would be coming in August. But work has progressed so well that Rupert at DSP has decided the rollout should be in June instead. So even less time to wait than expected, and we already have the covers ready to show you, something we don't usually have finished at announcement time.

My teaser had mentioned that we would be publishing nine titles in all by two different authors, both being reprinted by us for the first time. It's actually one book by the first author, whom many of you will know from a Persephone reprint of a wonderful earlier novel, and eight books by the second, which are so vanishingly rare in their original editions that I'm amazed and grateful to have been able to get hold of them at all.

I had failed to mention that we're very much in Scottish mode for this batch!

Ready or not...


First off, one of my all-time favorite discoveries as a blogger. How
RUBY FERGUSON's glorious, hilarious Scottish holiday novel Apricot Sky has not been reprinted ages ago is beyond me, and yet I'm also rather glad as now we get to do it ourselves. I first read and loved Apricot Sky way back before I started blogging, but re-read it and reviewed it here in 2019. It's a perfect escape from worldly cares and ideal for anyone dreaming of a holiday in Scotland with the most charming and funny companions imaginable.

We've adapted the original cover for our new edition.


Second, if you've been reading my blog for a while, you must have already guessed that the author whose books are vanishingly rare (but won't be after June) is none other than MOLLY CLAVERING, currently best-known as the close friend and neighbour of D. E. Stevenson for many years, but soon to be known as a brilliant and delightful storyteller in her own right. 

We're publishing an excellent cross-section of both her early and later works in this batch, including her four novels from the 1930s (originally published under the pseudonym B. Mollett) and four of her later novels from the 1950s. The latter include Mrs Lorimer's Quiet Summer, her best-known book thanks to it's being reprinted in the U.S. by the People's Book Club under the title Mrs Lorimer's Family, and Near Neighbours, first rediscovered and reprinted by the fabulous Greyladies Books in 2015. The former are a striking intro to Clavering's early work, with earthy humour, rural Scottish settings, and wonderful descriptions of the countryside and village life in the 1930s. While she will inevitably be compared to D. E. Stevenson, the earlier novels in particular show her to have very much her own style and sense of (slightly rowdy and solidly down-to-earth) humour.

Original dustjackets for Clavering's books are hard to find (and not always the most enticing), but we have adapted the original cover of Near Neighbours for our new edition.









I owe a debt of gratitude to several people for fueling and enabling what has been a multi-year obsession with tracking down Clavering's work. Clavering's cousin Michael Stewart started me off by providing loads of information about her books, which I consolidated into a post here. The tireless Jerri Chase provided me with information about the 1950s novels as well as photos of dustjackets. Shirley at Greyladies stoked the flames by blazing a trail to do the first reprint of a Molly Clavering title in over 50 years. And, in particular, I have to thank Grant Hurlock (as I have many times before) for making it possible for me to read most of these books. He went above and beyond all his previous achievements in getting hold of them, and their reprinting wouldn't have happened without him.

Hope you're as excited about these new titles as I am!

43 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for reprinting these Molly Claverings! I have spent years trying to track down copies of her, very elusive. books. I am thrilled beyond words with this announcement.

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    1. Thanks Jeanette! So glad you're pleased about the Claverings!

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  2. Particularly excited about Apricot Sky, but excited for all of themmmmm

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    1. Thanks Simon, and I see you've got new tricks up your sleeve as well!

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  3. Just as excited as you Scott! What a fantastic selection. Can't wait....

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  4. O wonderful, wonderful, and most wonderful wonderful! And yet again wonderful, and after that, out of all whooping.

    I can hardly wait.

    Jerri

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    1. Thanks Jerri! I know I owe you an email too--someday I'll be caught up again...

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  5. Excellent news! Another enticing selection...

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  6. Oh my, I am so excited. I have been looking for some of these for years. I will be buying every single one of these!

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    1. Thanks Erin, I'm glad to hear we're able to check some things off of your Hopeless Wish List!

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  7. What exciting news to cheer up a dull February morning in lock-down!
    I shall be eagerly awaiting June

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    1. Thanks Sue! Glad to have added some cheer to your day.

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  8. Oh they'll be perfect for reading in the garden in June here in the UK! But which to choose first.... can't resist the Ravilous covers of course!!!

    My late sister was a huge fan and avid collector of Ruby's horse/pony books. I never read her but think its time I did!

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    1. Thank you Ann! I'm with you on the Ravilious covers--unfortunately we're running out of images...

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  9. At last, I'll be abe to read Apricot Sky! Oh frabjous day.

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    1. Glad to have added some frabjousness to your day Barbara!

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  10. Oh, so exciting!! Lovely covers as always, too!

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  11. Oooo, thrills and excitement! About books that will be calm and lovely.

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    1. Thanks Susan! Indeed, these are all good for forgetting about world events...

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  12. Always so exciting when the new titles are announced! I hunted down Apricot Sky on your recommendation and thoroughly enjoyed it so look forward to being able to get my hands on copy of my own soon.

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    1. Thank you Claire! Glad you liked Apricot Sky too, and it's always ripe for a re-read.

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  13. This is fantastic, will be able to add to my Molly Clavering titles, hip, hip, hooray. Geraldine from the DES email group.

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    1. Thank you Geraldine! I really owe you thanks as well, as one of the first people to share info about Molly (and one of the only people I've ever come across to actually own copies of some of them!).

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    2. Thanks, Scott. I will be buying them all for my Kobo, even the ones that I already have in physical book form. So glad that you are publishing the titles that I've never read before.

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    3. Should have added that it was Kristi from the DES email group, who recommended Molly Clavering to me, I started off with Near Neighbours, and then a few more somehow appeared on the over crowded book shelves. Geraldine

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  14. So many Scottish books, I can see it's going to be a very expensive time for me. Thank you - I think.

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    1. Thanks Katrina! Yes, we so seem to have a tartan theme going on these days...

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  15. They all look delightful. Great work on the covers. It is hard to pick a favorite but I know you want me to so I will pick Yoked With a Lamb. If I could pick one to walk into right now, that would be it. Can someone bring me tea outside, please?

    Note to all, if you can't purchase every single one (which I know we want to), bring a list with titles and isbns to your library and request that they purchase. Mine doesn't buy everything I suggest but it is surprisingly accommodating, especially early in the fiscal year.

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    1. Thank you Constance! And thanks for the lovely suggestion about requesting them from the library. I should probably do some self-promotion along those lines here in SF! Hmmm...

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  16. Excitement, shock, surprise! So looking forward to this summer's reading.

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  17. Very, very excited for the new books. I wish I had the space to get them all in paperback but will settle for the kindle versions (thank you very much). If ever you have a chance, could you please try and reprint Helen Ashton's Doctor Serocold etc? I loved the Half Crown House and feel I would like all of her others as well. thanks much Jessica Flinders

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    1. Thank you Jessica! I do have Helen Ashton on my list of "possibles", but I have to confess we almost have TOO many great books to choose from at the moment. A wonderful problem to have...

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  18. Very excited about the new titles, and in particular, looking forward to reading Apricot Sky.
    I decided if the NEW titles are being announced, I'd better get my butt in gear and read the "other" "new titles," so last night sat up and finished "Much Dithering," by Dorothy Lambert. Enjoyed it very much, and now want to try tracking down some of her other titles. Thanks, Scott, for all your labors of lvoe for us.
    Tom

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    1. Thanks Tom! I do think Apricot Sky, and indeed Clavering too, could be right up your street. Glad you liked the Dithering--I do really have to get back to reading more Lambert to see if there are other treasures for us to consider!

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    2. Already own "Near Neighbors," and, yes, liked it a lot. Also own and have read "Mrs. Lorimar's family." Also enjoyed.
      Tom

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  19. I just spotted two of the Molly Clavering titles on Amazon now available for pre-order, delivery June 7. It makes it all seem more real to see the entries available for pre-ordering.

    Jerri

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  20. Can't wait to discover this new to me author!

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  21. I am so excited. Thank you so much for getting these on your list! You're my hero!

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  22. The only way you could make me more pleased would be to publish 'Griselda', 'Good Red Herring', 'Pung of Dragons' and 'Jethro's Mill' by Susan Pleydell.

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