Today I’m delighted to welcome historical novelist Marla Skidmore. Her ‘Porridge & Cream’ read is Emma by Jane Austen.
“It was difficult to choose just one book for my Porridge and Cream read, as I have so many favourites. Anya Seton’s Katherine and Georgette Heyer’s An Infamous Army are very near the top of my list but if I have to pin it down to just one book, then it has to be Emma. It was at school, during a double Library period in the Summer of 1965, that my impressionable teenage self, became entranced by the world that Jane Austen created in her novels. Initially it was haughty Mr Darcy and feisty Lizzie Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, that caught my attention but then I discovered her wonderfully flawed, high spirited and delightfully managing heroine, Emma Woodhouse.
‘Handsome, clever and rich,’ Emma has no responsibilities other than the care of her rather foolish, elderly father.When her close companion, the motherly Anne Taylor gets married and leaves her, Emma sets out on an ill-fated match-making career which focuses on the pretty but dim Harriet Smith. Emma manages to cause misunderstandings with every new tactic she employs. Cherished and spoilt, she is charming to all those around her but insensitive to their feelings, so it takes her some time to learn her lesson and profit from spending less time worrying about how other people should live their lives and more time redeeming herself in the eyes of Mr Knightly, the man who loves her dearly but who is also her sternest critic. The more I read Emma, the more I appreciate Jane Austen’s sharp wit; her subtle analysis of contemporary life in small town Regency England and her incisive portraits of characters such as Mrs Augusta Elton, who has £10,000 but is boasting, pretentious and vulgar and the Frank Churchill, whose surface charm hides a manipulative self-centred nature, determined to ensure his secret engagement to Jane Fairfax remains undetected.”
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Marla Skidmore grew up in a small medieval city in the Yorkshire Dales. After living in Europe for a number of years, she returned home to become a mature student. Having completed her studies and gained dual Honours in English and History and a Master’s degree in Literature; Marla went on to become a College Lecturer. Her award-winning debut novel, Renaissance – The Fall and Rise of a King, is inspired by the discovery of King Richard III’s remains on the 25th August 2012. She is now researching and writing the sequel Renegade, the story of Francis Viscount Lovell – King Richard’s greatest and most loyal friend. When not immersed in her current writing project, Marla enjoys gardening, exploring ancient ruins and taking long walks with her West Highland Terrier in the countryside surrounding the Dales village where she now lives.
Marla’s latest book
Death is not always the end. King Richard III. Betrayed, defeated and savagely slain but Fate is not quite finished with him. He regains consciousness on Bosworth’s bloody field and concludes that the Almighty has granted him another chance to fight for his throne. About to leave the battlefield to head North, Richard is forced to take cover by the arrival of Henry Tudor and his men who are searching for his body to put on display. Suddenly the cry goes up ‘We have found the king!’ He sees Henry Tudor standing triumphant over a mauled and battered corpse and hears him whisper ‘It is done. England is mine.’ How could this be when he is not dead? Richard sidles closer; to his utter horror finds himself looking at his own body. The appearance of the mysterious monk Father Gilbert, convinces him that he is dead and now in Purgatory – and so begins Richard’s harrowing journey through the Hereafter. Through his recollections in the Afterlife, reader is witness to the key events that lead to his violent end. The man behind the myths is revealed, as is the torment of a soul who believes that his honour and reputation have been forever destroyed by the malign propaganda of the Tudors. When at last Richard learns that this has not reigned supreme through the ages, he faces a decision that will affect his soul throughout eternity.
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What is a ‘Porridge & Cream’ book? It’s the book you turn to when you need a familiar read, when you are tired, ill, or out-of-sorts, where you know the story and love it. Where reading it is like slipping on your oldest, scruffiest slippers after walking for miles. Where does the name ‘Porridge & Cream’ come from? Cat Deerborn is a character in Susan Hill’s ‘Simon Serrailler’ detective series. Cat is a hard-worked GP, a widow with two children and she struggles from day-to-day. One night, after a particularly difficult day, she needs something familiar to read. From her bookshelf she selects ‘Love in A Cold Climate’ by Nancy Mitford. Do you have a favourite read which you return to again and again. If so, please send me a message.
Discover the ‘Porridge & Cream’ books of these authors:-
LM Milford’s choice is ‘4.50 From Paddington’ by Agatha Christie
Lexi Rees chooses ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ by Douglas Adams
‘Jane Eyre’ by Charlotte Bronte is chosen by Julie Stock
And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Why does historical novelist @marlaskidmore44 re-read EMMA by Jane Austen #books https://wp.me/p5gEM4-4hB via @SandraDanby