Archive | January 2014

Top Five Literary Romances


Humph! Is it really still January?! I don’t know about you, but to me, Christmas and New Year feel like ages ago… But there is good news. February is only a week away and whilst it won’t make the dark, the cold and the rain disappear overnight, it is at least a step in the right direction.

February is also the home of Valentines Day and wherever you fall in the ‘love the romance’ or ‘commercialised waste of time’ debate (my husband and I fall somewhere in between), I hope you’ll enjoy this list of my top five literary romances!

1. Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy – how could this perfect pair not claim top spot?

2. Elinor Dashwood and Edward Ferrars – I’m staying with the Austen theme here, though have to confess that I haven’t actually read Sense and Sensibility. Still, when Emma Thompson breaks down at the end of the Ang Lee movie, I’ve never not burst into tears! (must read the book this year!)

3. Othello and Desdemona- I’m going off-piste here and have chosen these two rather than Romeo and Juliet… They are just wonderful together before Iago messes it all up (but if he hadn’t, there wouldn’t really be any story, I guess – just two blissfully happy people!).

4. Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester – I love this book so much and ‘Reader, I married him!’ never fails to make my eyes well up.

5. Pip and Estella – Controversial, I know, but their relationship has always fascinated me and it can be interpreted in so many ways.

And a special honourary mention for Hermione and Ron, just because I’m a huge Potter fan, love their bickering and find it hard to make up a literary list without any JK Rowling!

It’s interesting that apart from Harry Potter, all the top five are from pre twentieth century works. I thought through all the contemporary novels I’ve read over the years and whilst there are many that I adore, the couples in them just didn’t quite make the grade… Can you think of any modern romances that would make your top five?

And on the same theme, here is a free romantic fiction competition, run by The Cremona Hotel in Bournemouth. There are (modest) cash prizes on offer and for the winner, a weekend in the hotel as well. The deadline is 14th February and do bear in mind that it’s postal entries only. I’ll be having a go, as long as I can think of a reasonable idea fairly quickly!


2013 in Books


I like to keep a log of the books I’ve read each year. This is partly so that I don’t forget them and partly because I set myself a ‘goal’ to read at least thirty books a year, plus plenty of magazine short stories as well, to keep up with the markets.

This year the list is quite an eclectic mix. I’ve read lots of (chapter) children’s books, ostensibly for research but, I have to admit, it’s often for nostalgia, indulgence and pure enjoyment too!

So, here we go: (My favourite books are highlighted.)

1. Moondial by Helen Cresswell

2. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

3. Trespass by Rose Tremain

4. The Trial by Franz Kafka

5. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

6. The Land of Decoration by Grace McCleen

7. Grace Williams Says It Loud by Emma Henderson

8. Starting Over by Sue Moorcroft

9. Heaven Eyes by David Almond

10. Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan

11. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

12. Life of Pi by Yann Martel

13. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (re-read) by JK Rowling

14. The Great Gatsby (re-read) by F. Scott Fitzgerald

15. The Sealed Letter by Emma Donoghue

16. Forbidden Friends by Anne-Marie Conway

17. Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones

18. Stuart, A Life Backwards by Alexander Masters

19. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (re-read) by JK Rowling

20. The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

21. Ice and a Slice by Della Galton

22. Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

23. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

24. The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

25, 26, 27. The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

28. The Time of Singing by Elizabeth Chadwick

29. Timecatcher by Louise Fitzpatrick

30. A Possible Life by Sebastian Faulkes

31. Shadow Forest by Matt Haig

32. Ghost Stories and How to Write Them by Kathleen McGurl

33. Why Short Stories Get Rejected by Linda Lewis

So, a new year and a new blank page to fill with scribbles of the books I’ve read and enjoyed. Wishing you a lovely reading (and writing) year as well 🙂

This entry was posted on January 5, 2014. 2 Comments