Just last week my eagerly-awaited copy of the latest from Fidra Books arrived, The Winter of Enchantment by Victoria Walker.
Garth Nix (Sabriel, brilliant snow-laden fantasy read) and Neil Gaiman (we love Neil here at DGR , his blog makes for wonderful reading) both heart this one so that's a great starter for ten.
Casually glancing through I started to read the new introduction written by Victoria (now Victoria Clayton) and knew instantly that this was to be my very next read.
The book was originally published in 1969 and Victoria's account of her amazingly bohemian life and the circumstances in which she came to write the book are worth the price of the book alone. You can read an interview and details of that here.
The Winter of Enchantment was eventually made into a TV series but by 1969, when the book came out, I was 16 and deeply into my very grown up Daphne Du Maurier-Anya Seton-Gone With the Wind phase and so wouldn't have cast a second, seemingly backward, glance at anything for children, which is how I must have missed this book first time round.
Thank heavens it's doing the rounds again.Dark winter Sunday afternoons and the fire crackling away make reading books like this easy.I can disappear off into a world of fantasy effortlessly and having already accessed my inner child with that Brownie Worst Sixer post it was even easier than usual.I might have been curled up on my bed back in Russell Road,Mitcham.
I can give you advance warning that this is going to be a DGR perfectly lovely gorgeous book, there is a precious innocence and unaffected-ness about this writing that really does make for magical reading.You have no choice but to "be" a child as you read it and what an ideal Christmas gift for a child or a grown-up near you.
There's a sequel too, The House Called Hadlows which is by all accounts even better.
As usual I had company, Rocky No Cushion Quite Big Enough enjoyed an afternoon of enchantment too.He's too big to do that nice compact cat thing of curling up into a tight ball, it's painful (and very funny) to watch him try and in any case he wouldn't be able to breath, so he goes for the yard-long stretch.Please don't anyone tell
Jamie Oliver the vet, it's us who get it in the neck for letting him out in the fields to seize those calorie-laden-take-away rabbit twizzlers.