I'm so sorry about this but I'm a teensy bit over excited as anyone who rarely gets into print is allowed to be.
A few months ago browsing in my local bookshop I picked up a new reading mag, The Book Magazine.On perusal it looked a little out of the ordinary so I sent off a few samples of my writing and included a piece published recently in newbooksmag on the lesser known of the Elizabeth Taylor's (the novelist not the National Velvet one). This was to coincide with the Virago reprint of her novels and I was delighted to receive a message from Elizabeth Taylor's daughter and the editors at Virago thanking me for the article after it was published.
The Book Magazine asked if they could chop it down a bit and use it in the next edition and so there it is in print today. It doesn't quite flow as the original but c'est la vie and the gist is there.
One point edited out is my homage to the old Virago covers.
If you have never read any of Elizabeth Taylor's novels you have treats a plenty in store but take my advice and seek these out second hand and in the beautiful old Virago covers.Many of them feature paintings by the bookhound's favourite artist, Stanley Spencer. This one a detail from
"Interior at Cookham with Spring Flowers". These covers set a resonance for the story within that will remain an important part of your memory of the book.
Modern and fashionable the Virago reprinted editions may be but the covers seem sadly lifeless.Do publisher's really feel we have lost that eye for the beauty of a cover that would make us buy a book for that alone? Can there be any contest between this and the original?
And I am alone in being the only person who will never ever buy a book that has a film or TV series tie in cover illustration? I know which of these I would prefer.
I wrote at length and in some detail about Mrs Palfrey at The Claremont and kept this old edition in front of me to sustain a visual image in my head of how I saw her .This picture of Mrs Mabel Whitehead by Margaret Foreman epitomises the character, with those swollen ankles and the appealing expression of aged melancholy, beseeching eyes looking directly into mine.It becomes quite mesmerising after a while.Sadly the new edition I had been sent to work from inspired an atmosphere completely at odds with the book I know and love (but was fine for highlighting and scribbling in)
But I notice that even Jane Austen has been given a dose of bookish botox, hang onto your hats, a chicklit, pastel makeover .So perhaps it comes to them all in the end and if the thinking is that it makes a book less elitist and more accessible to all then so be it.