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Rare and interesting books about dancing, publishing, cooking, London and families

 

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Candy Nevill by Clare Mallory (now available)

 

Some people have a gift for cooking and Candy Nevill is lucky enough to be one of those people. Unfortunately, she’s also the slowest and youngest member of a family of academic high-flyers who don’t always value light scones or delicious suppers when compared to captaining sports teams or achieving the highest marks.

 

Candida Nevill, known to the family as Candy, is an ordinary schoolgirl with a habit of daydreaming and coming a very distant fourth to her three successful and confident elder siblings. Candy is content to drift through her schooldays, not even playing team games, and it’s only the start of cooking lessons that show that she can be successful too.

 

Unpublished in her lifetime Clare Mallory’s novel is a tale of childhood life in New Zealand.

 

 

Candy Nevill £13.50 (UK 2nd class postage)

Candy Nevill £13.75 (EU airmail postage)

Candy Nevill £16.95 (Rest of World airmail postage)

The Two Linties by Clare Mallory (2012)

 


“We feel sure that the young people of Hillingdon will welcome a new feature in our columns, devoted exclusively to their interests. To-day we launch a children’s page, and we want it to be reader-written. The first issues cannot be, but as soon as possible the results of literary competitions will provide the greater part of the material used. We are convinced that there is sufficient talent in this city to fill a weekly page with stories, poems, articles, and sketches of good standard. Prizes will be generous, and every encouragement given to the young writers and artists. Cousin Rosemary will be a friend to all of them, and she will, we know, receive a very warm welcome. All success to her and her Hillingdon Club!”

 

These are tempting words to an imaginative orphan and ones that inspire her to create a new identity for herself. Lintie Oliver, the most mischievous resident of St Anne’s Orphanage, reinvents herself as Lynette Hope, prize-winning writer. Submitting stories, articles and plays under a nom de plume result in colour and excitement flooding into her drab life. The Two Linties is the story of her double life as she grapples with unhoped-for success and the chance to change her own life and help her friends realise their dreams. Out of print since the 1950s, Clare Mallory’s rare novel is a gentle tale of childhood life in New Zealand.

 

 

Five Farthings by Monica Redlich (2011)

 
 

A sudden change in circumstances forces the five members of the Farthing family to move from a quiet corner of Sussex to the noise and bustle of the City of London. The family rents a flat in the shadow of St Paul’s in a City dominated by Wren churches, publishing houses and busy office workers. Five Farthings is a family story and domestic adventure set in London. With her father in hospital, her mother returned to work, eldest daughter Vivien looks after the home. It is a story of a girl’s first job and first love as well as the need for sharp eyes and sharp elbows when attempting to board the bus.

 
This London story was first published in 1939 and appears to have been one of those novels that was forgotten after the war once there was sufficent paper to begin thinking about reprinting titles. The title's beautifully clear and you're drawn into a world of City life that's as recognisable to any commuter or City worker today, even if City rents aren't low any more. It works, I think, because it's an enjoyable family story with an uncommon subject at its heart. How many people even today are familiar with the layout of the City - how many just walk past Cannon Street station and don't even look up at the splendour of St Paul's on the daily commute? I try, though the dragons fade into the background after a while, striking as they are. London in your lunch hour probably won't include Wren churches or sandwiches in the parks - most of us manage a quick coffee or a wander around shopping before dashing back to our desks. My office has daft pigeons wandering in circles around the guttering - Redlich has them pottering about around the roof of the cathedral. The only thing I would have liked to do while researching and putting this book together was to visit a Lyons Corner House. I'm told that some could be spectacular and doubt that the interior of a modern coffee house would strike me in quite the same way.

 

 

 

The Whicharts by Noel Streatfeild (2010)

 

She never doubted for a moment that once she had the necessary training she would find the work. She knew with her whole being that she was a born mechanic. In what way she would have a chance to prove this she didn't know, but her prayers always finished: "And, oh God, if possible, let me fly".

 

1920s London: three adopted sisters train for the stage and support the household. Maimie, Tania and Daisy Whichart are poor and have self-reliance thrust upon them. The Whicharts, Noel Streatfeild's first novel, is the story of their dreams, friendships and loves. The drudgery of stage-work is set against their passion for family ties and realising their dreams. 

 

 


 

 

 

 

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