My ultimate desert island book. A great and haunting novel, dense with history, philosophy and romance. Story telling at its best.
I’m a big Waugh fan. He’s so brilliant about people and his dialogue sparkles like no one else’s. This is my favourite. Funny as ever, but heart breaking too, with the most haunting ending.
Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingles Wilder
This is the book that made me think about the possibility of writing my own novel one day. The prose is so light and clear, and the subject matter so subjective – a book based on Rhys’s own experience of arriving in London from Domenica, it gave me a splinter of hope.
Voyage in the Dark by Jean Rhys
Buy A House Full of Daughters from Bookshop.org, Book Depository, Waterstones, Amazon or Amazon AU.
I was staggered by the accumulating stories in this book, each one more powerful than the last. A writer reaching her peak, and in full control of her material.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
And while travel is still off the cards – thanks to the global pandemic that is Covid-19 – I’ve been lucky enough to invite a number of incredible authors to take part in my Desert Island Books series, while we all continue to dream of the day that far-flung travel is a reality once more. I remember studying – and loving – Hideous Kinky for my degree in English Literature many moons ago, and so it was an incredible honour to invite author Esther Freud – whose ninth novel, I Couldn’t Love You More – has recently been published – to share her desert island books on my blog. From her favourite childhood series to her ultimate desert island book, here are the eight books Esther would take with her to the sandy shores of a desert island.
A Strange Eventful History: The dramatic lives of Ellen Terry, Henry Irving and their Remarkable Families by Michael Holroyd
Buy Girl Woman Other from Bookshop.org, Book Depository, Waterstones, Amazon or Amazon AU.
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Girl Woman Other by Bernardine Evaristo
A gritty, beautiful novel of poverty, resilience and redemptive love. It fuelled me with a belief in the deepest of soul connections that at times has led me astray.
Buy Little House on the Prairie from Bookshop.org, Book Depository, Waterstones, Amazon or Amazon AU.
Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh
Buy Handful of Dust from Bookshop.org, Book Depository, Waterstones, Amazon or Amazon AU.
Holroyd is the master of biography, and this is the most ambitious and mesmerizing of his many books. He brings to life two great 19th Century actors from very different backgrounds and creates the passion, chaos and inventiveness of their lives. Story after story unfolds, marriages, scandal, bankruptcy, children – cherished and abandoned – and always, another theatrical production involving leaps of faith, trains full of props, transformation and dreams.
A House Full of Daughters by Juliet Nicolson
Without question, the thing I love most about my blog, is the opportunities it has given me over the years. From taking part in a memoir writing retreat on Lake Atitlan led by one of my all-time favourite writers, to spending a week in Indonesia to find out about the country’s literacy scene, I’ve been incredibly fortunate to turn my passion for books into my career.
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Buy Voyage in the Dark from Bookshop.org, Book Depository, Waterstones, Amazon or Amazon AU. Buy A Strange Eventful History from Bookshop.org, Book Depository, Waterstones, Amazon or Amazon AU.
Buy Jane Eyre from Bookshop.org, Book Depository, Waterstones, Amazon or Amazon AU.