I am so excited because our guest today is Adele Geras, and a really warm welcome back to one of the very first occupants of the dovegreyreader asks...comfy chair (and for whom Bookhound drew a very special picture.) And for anyone with about twelve hours to spare and absolutely nothing else to do, you will find an impressive list of all the other armchair guests here.
Adele Geras writes for readers of all ages. Her latest children's book, a picture book illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas and out in paperback in April from Orchard Books is called My Ballet Dream. She has written four novels for adults. Made in Heaven is still in print and it and the others (Facing the Light, Hester's Story, and A Hidden Life) are all available to download to all e readers.
Adele blogs once a month at The History Girls and on February 7th, the actual day of the Dickens bicentenary, she hosted a party for him on the blog.
A confession: I am a Dickens lightweight. I have not read all the novels. Some of the very greatest (Bleak House, Our Mutual Friend, even...oh the shame! A Tale of Two Cities) I am intending to read soon but there are others, like Martin Chuzzlewit and The Mystery of Edwin Drood, which I won't be rushing to get under my belt, so to speak. But if I'm not a Dickens completist, I am a most sincere and devoted Dickens lover.
That's by the way. Back to Dickens: the novel to which I am most sentimentally attached is Dombey and Son. In late April 2009, my husband and I went on holiday to Venice. It was the first time either of us had been there, and we travelled by train. This isn't quite the way a Victorian would have made the trip but it's a darn sight nearer to the experience than flying would have been. I don't like planes and I love trains, and so we made our leisurely way on the wonderful Eurostar, to the Continent. We stayed a night in Paris and the next day, went by the excellent TGV to Milan where we arrived at nine o'clock at night.
Next morning we went on to Venice and stepping out of that station and seeing the Grand Canal for the first time was an experience I won't forget. Everything anyone has ever written about Venice; anything anyone has put on canvas to try and depict her glories, just fades away when you are confronted by the real thing.
While we were there, we stayed at a most wonderful hotel and this [picture of Wisteria] was the sight that greeted us every time we stepped off the Vaporetto at our station, Ca' d' Oro.
As you might expect, we didn't have much time for reading but I'd decided to take Dombey and Son with me for the journey and the holiday and I can report that the book lasted me (and I'm a very quick reader) the full seven days from when we left Manchester to when we got to Paris on the way home. I started Colm Toibin's The Master on the London-bound Eurostar train.
What a good idea! Do let's do that!
This year, with all the bicentenarly celebrations will be a good time to return to him. Bleak House is up next. This, in the immortal words of Cole Porter, is what I would like to sing to the Inimitable...