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Showing posts from March, 2015

Mr. and Mrs. Edward Burne-Jones visit The Tennysons

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I have been reading my copy of, 'Memorials of Edward Burne-Jones' by his wife, Lady Burne-Jones, Georgiana Burne-Jones. In it, she records a remembrance visit to their friends, Alfred and Emily Tennyson.  I just thought it was so sweet and gave a rare glimpse into how the couples interacted privately while spending time together.

 Alfred, Lord Tennyson photographed by JOHN JABEZ EDWIN MAYALL (1813-1901) National Portrait Gallery, UK
"Whilst Tennyson was in London for the season this year (1880) Edward took me to see him for the first time. Mr. Hallam Tennyson kindly arranged an evening when we should find Tennyson his father and mother alone; he himself had to go out after welcoming us. Mrs. Tennyson, who always went early to bed, rose from her sofa about ten o'clock, and when her husband put his arm round her to help her to her room I thought that her gentle farewell ended the evening, but to my joy, Tennyson asked us to await his return, and afterwards came back and …

An upcoming read and review: Adeline: A Novel of Virginia Woolf by Norah Vincent

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In this boldly imagined, richly textured novel, a New York Times bestselling author envisions the life of Virginia Woolf--along with her marriage to Leonard, and their legendary social circle--from the summer she began working on To The Lighthouse to the winter she finished her final book, shedding new light on the events both actual and interior that led up to Virginia's suicide in 1941.

On 18 April 1941, twenty-two days after Virginia Woolf went for a walk near her weekend house in Sussex and never returned, her body was reclaimed from the River Ouse. Norah Vincent's Adeline reimagines the events that brought Woolf to the riverbank, offering us a denouement worthy of its protagonist.


With poetic precision and psychological acuity, Vincent channels Virginia and Leonard Woolf, T. S. and Vivienne Eliot, Lytton Strachey and Dora Carrington, laying bare their genius and their blind spots, their achievements and their failings, from the inside out. And haunting every…

My review of Mademoiselle Chanel by C.W. Gortner

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DRAMA, PASSION, TRAGEDY, AND BEAUTY: C.W.’s new novel stunningly imagines the life of Coco Chanel—the iconic fashion designer whose staggering creativity built an empire and made her one of the 20th century’s most influential, and controversial, figures.

Born into rural poverty, Gabrielle Chanel and her sisters are sent to a convent orphanage after their mother’s death. Here, the nuns nurture Gabrielle’s exceptional sewing skills, a talent that will propel her into a life far removed from the drudgery of her childhood.

Transforming herself into Coco—a seamstress and sometime torch singer—the petite brunette burns with ambition, an incandescence that draws a wealthy gentleman who will become the love of her life. She immerses herself in his world of money and luxury, discovering a freedom that sparks her creativity. But it is only when her lover takes her to Paris that Coco discovers her destiny. 

Rejecting the frilly, corseted silhouette of the past, her sleek mi…

Alfred Tennyson's thoughts on Idylls of the King and Tintagel

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TOUR IN CORNWALL AND THE SCILLY ISLES  1860
“So great had been the success of the first four “Idylls of the King” that my father’s friends begged him to “continue the epic.” He received a letter from the Duke of Argyll again urging him to take up as his next subject the Holy Grail, but he said he shunned handling the subject, for fear that it might seem to some almost profane.” Hallam Tennyson

Alfred Tennyson writes to the Duke of Argyll, “As to the Sangreal, as I gave up the subject so many long years ago I do not think that I shall resume it”. 
Excerpts from Alfred Tennyson’s letter-diary. Tour in Cornwall and the Scilly Isles. 1860: August 21st.  Bideford. We came here last night at 7 o’clock. I and Woolner are going down the coast to Tintagel, where we shall stop till the others join us. 
August 23rd. Bude. Fine sea here, smart rain alternating with weak sunshine. Woolner is very kindly. We go off to-day to Boscastle which is three miles from Tintagel. 
August 23rd. Arrived at Tintagel…

Lynn Truss book reading for Cat out of Hell at Barnes and Noble on Thursday, March 12th, 2015, NYC!

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I cannot begin to explain, coherently, how excited I am for tomorrow night's book reading. Lynn Truss in New York City for her U.S. publication of her latest novel, 'Cat out of Hell'. Yes, I read the UK publication and just loved it. However, my introduction to her novels came in a novel which I reviewed a few years ago, Tennyson's Gift.






Acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Lynne Truss (Eats, Shoots & Leaves) is back with a mesmerizing and hilarious tale of cats and murder

For people who both love and hate cats comes the tale of Alec Charlesworth, a librarian who finds himself suddenly alone: he’s lost his job, his beloved wife has just died. Overcome by grief, he searches for clues about her disappearance in a file of interviews between a man called "Wiggy" and a cat, Roger. Who speaks to him.

It takes a while for Alec to realize he’s not gone mad from grief, that the cat is actually speaking to Wiggy . . . and that much of what we fear about…

Happy World Book Day!

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Now, today is World Book Day a day dedicted to reading, literature, books, childhood. So, here is my first post dedicated to it.  I wanted to concentrate on my favorite books I loved as a child. For the first ten years of my childhood, these were my friends and still are:




and then there was a very special rabbit by the name of Peter




and one very special little girl who wanted adventure and found it!

Of course, these beautiful stories all led me to discover the beautiful poetry of Alfred Lord Tennyson of The Freshwater Circle.

Far-Far-Away by Alfred Lord Tennyson What sight so lured him thro' the fields he knew
As where earth's green stole into heaven's own hue,
Far-far-away?

What sound was dearest in his native dells?
The mellow lin-lan-lone of evening bells
Far-far-away.

What vague world-whisper, mystic pain or joy,
Thro' those three words would haunt him when a boy,
Far-far-away?

A whisper from his dawn of life? a breath
From some fair dawn beyond the doors of death
F…

My review of A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley

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For nearly 300 years, the mysterious journal of Jacobite exile Mary Dundas has lain unread — its secrets safe from prying eyes. Now, amateur codebreaker Sara Thomas has been hired by a once-famous historian to crack the journal's cipher. But when she arrives in Paris, Sara finds herself besieged by complications from all sides: the journal's reclusive owner, her charming Parisian neighbor, and Mary, whose journal doesn't hold the secrets Sara expects. 

It turns out that Mary Dundas wasn’t keeping a record of everyday life, but a first-hand account of her part in a dangerous intrigue. In the first wintry months of 1732, with a scandal gaining steam in London, driving many into bankruptcy and ruin, the man accused of being at its center is concealed among the Jacobites in Paris, with Mary posing as his sister to aid his disguise. 


When their location is betrayed, they’re forced to put a desperate plan in action, heading south along the road to Rome, protected by the enigma…