I am so enjoying reading everyone’s comments on my giveaway this week. I have spotted some old favourites, and some new authors too, one or two that I haven’t heard of and will definitely be seeking out. Thank you so much everyone, and please keep the comments coming as the giveaway is open for another couple of days yet.
I find myself doing a lot more reading during the shorter days, especially now the hour has gone back (it’s very hard persuading Ben and Daisy that they have to wait an extra hour until their teatime!) The evenings are darker and there’s no more second walk to enjoy. So we make the most of our morning walks … now the undergrowth is dying back the woods have a more spacious, open feel and the Newfies love to run on ahead …
Under the trees and out into the fields, which just a few weeks ago were golden with corn, but are now freshly ploughed …
And, in Daisy’s opinion, perfect for lying down in! Do not ask me what goes on in that silly furry head – I have absolutely NO idea!
I do know that she comes home absolutely plastered in mud and has to be hosed down (which tickles her paws and makes her wriggle), unlike Ben who is much more sedate these days. After all, he’s a senior now, and will be 8 next birthday. But I digress …. I was going to tell you that one of my very most favourite authors is Susan Hill whose novels include The Woman in Black, The Mist in the Mirror and I’m the King of the Castle for which she received the Somerset Maugham Award in 1971.
If you’d like to learn more about Susan Hill, she has her own website which includes a short autobiography. I love her crime novels and am at present deep in her latest Simon Serrailler book, the eighth in the series, this one’s called “The Soul of Discretion.” It’s quite a challenging read as it deals with some difficult topics, but totally engrossing. Perhaps she’s most famous for her ghost stories though, which include the incredibly scary “Woman in Black” which was made into a film starring Daniel Ratcliffe in 2012. But, if asked to choose my favourite of all her books it would have to be one that’s now out of print, but which has had a place on my bookshelf for many years, “The Magic Apple Tree.” It’s a realistic, month-by-month, season-by-season account of life in the country that instantly transports me back to my childhood and teenage years growing up in a small village in Warwickshire (although her home, Moon Cottage is actually in Oxfordshire).
Although it is, as I mentioned above, out of print, copies are still readily available from Amazon and other second hand book sites and if you happen upon one I would urge you to snaffle it up to enjoy at your leisure, whether to dip in and out of or read all in one go. I’ll leave you with a short passage from “The Magic Apple Tree” that describes this very time of year….
“A week later, the wind rose and tossed the branches of the magic apple tree and all the trees of Lyke Wood and Cuckoo Spinney and the sycamores in the field leading to the orchard garden and the hazels that bound it and the elms where the rooks roost and the great walnut tree beside Albert Baker’s cottage, so that the air was full of leaves spinning and whirling and the ground thick with leaves fallen. The sky was grey, and heavy with clouds, racing, piling up one on top of the other, darkening over the Fen. Rain came, first on the wind, in soft clouds, then in a downpour soaking the earth, mulching all the leaves to a mould. The clocks went backward, the days were suddenly short and the nights long, lights came on and we could see them again through the trees, the village of Barley drew closer in upon itself again, for warmth and comfort and companionship.
I went out to the woodshed to bring in the first armful of logs and a bunch of kindling. And looked over my shoulder, across the darkening garden, to the house. The lamps were on, and shining out to me. I picked up my log basket and went towards the cottage and, as I did so, the wind gusted off the Fen towards the apple tree, taking the last of the leaves, the last remaining apples, and leaving the branches bare.
I shivered. The year had turned again. It was winter. I went inside quickly, and closed the door.”