I have been working so hard recently both at work and on my course that reading has taken a back seat. I am now getting into my stockpile of books and thoroughly enjoying myself!
I have been an avid reader for as long as I can remember and still have several dog-eared Enid Blyton’s as a reminder of my early reading habits. From there I progressed to Agatha Christie, mainly because that was what my Mum was reading at the time. As I went through secondary school I devoured the books we read in school as well as many out of school. I remember bringing Alison Uttley’s A Traveller in Time and Jane Eyre home to read in the summer holidays before we read it in class. I gained mediocre exam results in English and didn’t carry my study on into the sixth form. I never stopped reading though. By that stage I was ploughing my way through many classics. My favourite authors include the Bronte sisters, Anthony Trollope, Charles Dickens Jane Austen and Elizabeth Gaskell.
I recently read Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell, this book was unfinished when she died yet that doesn’t really matter when you read it, the ending is fairly clear when the book finishes anyway, even if you didn’t work it out from near the beginning! I was introduced to Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell (you have to love that name!) by my Mum who bought me a copy of Cranford when I started my first job in Knutsford at the age of 18. Knutsford is the setting for both Cranford and Wives and Daughters and Elizabeth Gaskell’s sharp observation of the class system in operation is what really makes her books stand out for me. Another of her novels, Mary Barton, set among the factories of Victorian Manchester, is among my all time favourites and I reread it often. If you havent read any of her books and are interested in novels which explore the various strata of Victorian society in an entertaining and easy to read way then give Elizabeth Gaskell a try, you won’t be disappointed.