Showing posts from September, 2012

A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever Nor Death Cannot Sever

An automaton, a man and a woman who can never meet, two stories of love—all are brought to incandescent life in this hauntingly moving novel from one of the finest writers of our time. London 2010: Catherine Gehrig, conservator at the Swinburne museum, learns of the sudden death of her colleague and lover of thirteen years. As the mistress of a married man, she must struggle to keep the depth of her anguish to herself. The one other person who knows Catherine’s secret—her boss—arranges for her to be given a special project away from prying eyes in the museum’s Annexe. Usually controlled and rational, but now mad with grief, Catherine reluctantly unpacks an extraordinary, eerie automaton that she has been charged with bringing back to life.  As she begins to piece together the clockwork puzzle, she also uncovers a series of notebooks written by the mechanical creature’s original owner: a nineteenth-century Englishman, Henry Brandling, who traveled to Germany to com

Angela Thirkell and Three Houses (1890 - 1961)

ANGELA THIRKELL (1890 - 1961) Angela Margaret Mackail was born on January 30, 1890 at 27 Young Street, Kensington Square, London. Her grandfather was Sir Edward Burne-Jones the pre-Raphaelite painter and partner in the design firm of Morris and Company for whom he designed many stained glass windows - seven of which are in St Margaret's Church in Rottingdean, West Sussex. Her grandmother was Georgiana Macdonald, one of a precocious family which included among others, Stanley Baldwin, the Prime Minister, and Rudyard Kipling. Angela's brother, Denis Mackail, was also a prolific and successful novelist. Angela's mother, Margaret Burne-Jones, married John Mackail - an administrator at the Ministry of Education and Professor of Poetry at Oxford University. Angela married James Campbell McInnes in 1911. James was a professional Baritone and performed at concert halls throughout the UK. In 1912 their first son Graham was born and in 1914 a second son, Colin. A daughter

The White Forest by Adam McOmber: A Review

In the bestselling tradition of  The Night Circus  and Sarah Waters’s  The Little Stranger , Adam McOmber’s hauntingly original debut novel follows a young woman in Victorian England whose peculiar abilities help her infiltrate a mysterious secret society. Young Jane Silverlake lives with her father at a crumbling family estate on the edge of Hampstead Heath. Jane has a secret—an unexplainable gift that allows her to see the souls of manmade objects—and this talent isolates her from the outside world. Her greatest joy is wandering the wild heath with her neighbors, Madeline and Nathan. But as the friends come of age, their idyll is shattered by the feelings both girls develop for Nathan, and by Nathan’s interest in a cult led by Ariston Day, a charismatic mystic popular with London’s elite. Day encourages his followers to explore dream manipulation, with the goal of discovering a new virtual reality, a place he calls the Empyrean. A year later, Nathan has vanished,


‘I do find one’s friends are curious about the way one works. What is your method? they want to know. The disappointing truth is that I haven’t much method. I type my own drafts on an ancient faithful machine I’ve owned for years and I find a Dictaphone useful for short stories or for recasting an act of a play. I think the real work is done in thinking out the development of your story, and worrying about it, until it comes right. That may take quite a while. Once everything was in place, all that remained was to try to find time to write the thing. Three months seems to me quite a reasonable time to complete a book…On the other hand, plays I think are better written quickly.’ AGATHA’S BIRTH AND CHILDHOOD Agatha Clarissa Miller was born on 15 September 1890. She was the daughter of Frederick Alvah Miller and Clarissa Boehmer. Agatha was the third child with her sister Madge and brother Monty ten and eleven years older. When they were away at school, she learned to c