Time Travel

I’ve been doing some time travel lately with my reading choices. Have you got a favourite era? A time period that really appeals to you, makes you think you were born at the wrong time? I’ve always loved everything about the 1930s, the clothes, the music, the movies, the books. The vast majority of my book collection dates from, or is set in, the 1930s.

But lately, I’ve been obsessed with the Edwardian era. There’s something magical about the golden years of the early 20th century, the years before WW1. Life seemed so elegant back then; there was just enough technology to make life easier, but still a slow pace of life and a gentleness that is in sharp contrast to today’s brittle fast-forward world. I enjoyed the glimpses into that world that Downton Abbey gave, although I wasn’t entirely satisfied with the direction of the storylines as the series went on. It all seemed a little forced by the last episode. However.

I’ve been reading the completed works of Saki, some of E.F.Benson’s less well known books (Dodo, Mrs Ames, Paying Guests), and Dornford Yates. Now I’m in search of more authors from that time period.

Another favourite era is the Regency. Unfortunately, this has been done to death by third rate writers, wanting to cash in on the success of Georgette Heyer, and failing miserably. I’m not a huge fan of the many Jane Austen spin offs that have been written in recent years either. So I always approach fiction set in that time period with my heart in my mouth. So I was pleasantly surprised by A Little Folly, by Jude Morgan. It’s not derivative, nor plastered with period slang, and the story is well devised, with believable characters. It leans more towards the writings of Jane Austen than Georgette Heyer, and despite the glitzy covers of the author’s other novels, it’s not a historical bodice ripper, but is true to the period, gentle, and enjoyable.

I’ve also received some other historical novel recommendations, via the Posh Knitters Ravelry group, which I’m looking forward to trying out. I’ve never read any fiction set earlier than the mid 1700’s – for one thing, the language of earlier periods is harder to read, and I’m a bit lazy in my reading requirements. But so many people seem to enjoy the works of writers such as Jean Plaidy and Anya Seton, that I’m going to give them a try. I’ll let you know how I get on!

2 thoughts on “Time Travel

  1. if you are game for trying nonBritish writers, check out the work of elizabeth kostova. i could go on and on but will just start there! The Historian and The Swan Thieves are both fabulous reads.

  2. Dornford Yates was one of my late father’s favourites and I have all his books in hardback,some first editions.I havn’t read them for a while but when I last did I found them so datedI shall have to try them again..Have you looked at Persephone books.They reprint books that have gone out of print.www.persephonebooks.co.uk
    Ones I could recommend are
    The Homemaker byDorothy Canfield Fisher 1924
    Miss Pettigrew lives for a day by Winifred Watson 1938
    Little Boy Lost by Marghanita Laski 1949