Two more books I read in October 2020

The Foundling by Stacey Halls

I chose The Foundling on BorrowBox partly because the cover reminded me of that of The Muse, which I had read and enjoyed. It is a historical novel aimed at an adult readership. Set in London in Georgian times against a backdrop of people struggling for existence and the wealthy, the meeting of  these two worlds led to some interesting scenes in this book. There were many unexpected twists and turns. My only disappointment was that I I have to wait to borrow the author’s earlier book, The Familiars.



The Franchise Affair by Josephine Tey

I recently became the owner of some books I had lived alongside as I was growing up. The Franchise Affair published in 1948 was one I remembered reading and enjoying in my late teens. I couldn’t remember anything else about it, so I reread it. Having been written in the early years following WWII, it described life in England at that time as the background to an unusual mystery. During WWII a National Day of Prayer* had been called. One of the characters in The Franchise Affair was a great believer in the power of intercessory prayer. That perhaps surprised me more now than it would have done the first time I read it as the culture of Britain has changed during the intervening years. The way the story unfolded shocked me when I was younger. The legal background was well-researched and I had to consult a dictionary for one of the technical terms.

Two highly recommended books.

* Today is the first day of the second national lockdown in England during the Covid-19 pandemic. The three most senior bishops of the Church of England have written to the clergy expressing their desire for this to be a month of prayer.

What I read in March 2019 (Part 1)

I have already reviewed The Shepherd’s Life. When I took it back to the library I borrowed Lonnings and Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine.

The authors of Lonnings: A walk through Cumbria’s ancient trackways, Alan Cleaver and Lesley Park, are two of my acquaintances. This is an unusual book in that it has been hand-made (or should that be hand-crafted?) by Alan Cleaver. I read its 64 pages in a single sitting. It is well-researched, well-written and includes photos and verse, some in dialect. I intend to make a note of the locations of some of the lonnings with a view to exploring them. Some lonnings are similar to holloways. I have a post about holloways among other things.

Hand-made book with ribbon bookmark

Alan Cleaver is very entertaining on Twitter – @thelonningsguy.

By contrast Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine by Gail Honeyman is fiction. It is a gripping story. I could hardly put it down and returned it to the library two days later having read it from cover to cover. There are slight similarities with other books I have read. I was reminded of Margaret Forster’s How to measure a cow and a book by Josephine Tey I read a very long time ago, possibly Miss Pym Disposes, but I am not quite sure.

The other book, which I have finished reading is Evelyn Underhill’s Prayer Book, edited by Robyn Wrigley-Carr. This was a book I failed to win on Twitter. However, when I saw a copy, it was so attractively produced that I bought it. I have been using it in my quiet times over several months. (There are 160 sections including at least one prayer.)

Book with end flaps

Although the editor has modernised some of the language, I found that much of it was still rather dated. The prayers had been collected together more than 75 years ago. There are some beautiful, familiar prayers, but the language would still be difficult for most young people. This is a book to give to an older person or for an ordinand to study. I shall return to it to find the prayers, which I knew in my youth and some which I particularly liked that were new to me.