Tag Archives: Emily Bronte

My Porridge & Cream read… Jessie Cahalin @BooksInHandbag #books

Today I’m delighted to welcome romance novelist Jessie Cahalin. Her ‘Porridge & Cream’ read is Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.

Wuthering Heights appeared in my life when I was eleven years old in 1983.  Following my English teacher’s recommendation, I saved pocket money to buy the novel.

‘The air made me shiver through every limb’ as I entered Heathcliff’s kitchen and lost myself in the language. This was my first taste of one of ‘the important authors’ and she was a Yorkshire lass to boot. I still remember the picture of the withering tree on the front cover and the delicious new smell of the fine pages.

Jessie Cahalin

Jessie’s vintage copy

“The tiny writing meant I had to concentrate and there were delicious new words to savour. Even then, the rhythms of the language and the powerful setting captured me, and I read them aloud. I stood on t’top of t’world with my new book.

Bronte inspired me to enjoy the power of words, and I would spend hours painting my own scenes with language. I marked pages in Wuthering Heights and would re-read them constantly. My parents took me to Howarth to visit the parsonage, and I knew Jessie had gone home.

Wuthering Heights was my trusty companion on the train when I departed from Yorkshire to commence my first teaching job down south. Can you imagine my delight when I was asked to teach Wuthering Heights to my first A Level class? I passed on my joy of Bronte to some of the students who read English in Leeds and York.

I have not managed to return to live in Yorkshire, so I still read Bronte to get my fix of the rugged landscape. Alas, my original copy gave up the ghost a long time ago. I have the book on my kindle, which is always at hand in my handbag.”

Jessie Cahalin

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte – Penguin Clothbound Classics


Jessie’s Bio
Jessie is a Yorkshire author living in Cardiff, Wales. Wales and words have a special place in her heart. She loves to entertain and challenge readers with her contemporary fiction and wants everyone to meet the characters who’ve been hassling her for years. Set in Wales, You Can’t Go It Alone is ‘a novel with a warm heart’ and is the first book in a family saga. Jessie is also the innovator of the popular ‘Books in Handbag’ Blog. Besides writing, Jessie adores walking, talking, cooking and procrastinating. Walking helps her to sort out tangles in her narratives or articles. She searches for happy endings, where possible, and needs great coffee, food and music to give her inspiration.

Jessie’s links

Jessie’s latest book
Jessie CahalinCan’t Go It Alone… Love, music and secrets are woven together in this poignant, heart-warming narrative. Set in a Welsh village, the story explores the contrast in attitudes and opportunities between different generations of women. As the characters confront their secrets and fears, they discover truths about themselves and their relationships. The reader is invited to laugh and cry, with the characters, and find joy in the simple things in life. Listen to the music and enjoy the food, as you peek inside the world of the inhabitants of Delfryn. Let Sophie show you that no one can go it alone. Who knows, you may find some friends with big hearts

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:-
Rhoda Baxter’s choice is ‘The Night Watch’ by Terry Pratchett
Chantelle Atkins chooses ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ by JD Salinger
Camellia’ by Lesley Pearse is chosen by Helen J Christmas

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Why does Jessie Cahalin @BooksInHandbag re-read WUTHERING HEIGHTS by Emily Bronte #books https://wp.me/p5gEM4-4t7 via @SandraDanby

#BookReview ‘The Girl at the Window’ by @RowanColeman #paranormal #mystery

The Girl at the Window by Rowan Coleman is a glorious mixture of ghosts, grief and the Yorkshire moors of the Brontës. With three timelines to juggle, the novel’s structure is held together by a real house, Ponden Hall, and its true links to Emily Brontë. Mixing historical fact with flights of imagination – the letters of a 17th century servant Agnes – there is a lot going on. Central are the themes of grief, the different types of love and mother/child relationships. Rowan Coleman

Trudy Heaton’s husband Abe is missing presumed dead after a plane crash in South America, so she takes their son Will to her childhood home, Ponden Hall in Yorkshire. Tru’s return is wondrous and difficult, a return to the old house and moors she loved near Haworth, home to the Brontës; but also an awkward reunion with Ma, with whom she has not spoken for 16 years. When Tru finds a loose page from a diary written by Emily Brontë, who visited the house and used its library, and some 17th century documents by an Agnes Heaton, she starts a hunt for the truth. At the same time she must renovate the almost derelict house, and help Will negotiate his new life without his father in a strange place. Will likes Ponden Hall, the Granny he has never met before, and Mab the old retriever, but he acquires an imaginary friend. Also hovering on the scene is Marcus Ellis, house restorer and Brontë addict, who arrives to assess the repairs needed and grants available to save Ponden Hall. Ma doesn’t like Marcus’s neat blue jeans, Tru finds him unsettlingly calm, and Will likes the computer games and wi-fi at Marcus’s ultra-modern home.

And all the time, Will expects his father to return and asks his mother why she stopped looking for him. As both mother and son process their grief, the losses, brutality and bereavements of other generations at Ponden Hall are uncovered. Has Tru found a story previously uncovered only by Emily Brontë, and did Emily leave an unfinished second novel hidden somewhere at Ponden Hall?

The adventure and excitement of a bookish girl, searching for real… ‘the existence of a childhood dream come true, almost like finding a snowy forest at the back of a wardrobe.’

Another immersive read on holiday for me, 4* rather than 5* because of some unbelievable elements and impracticalities which took me away from the world on the page and made me wonder… ‘but’. To avoid spoilers I can’t be more specific but they are not ghost or Brontë-related.

If you like this, try:-
Yuki Chan in Brontë Country’ by Mick Jackson
Wakenhyrst’ by Michelle Paver
Love and Eskimo Snow’ by Sarah Holt

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
THE GIRL AT THE WINDOW by @RowanColeman #bookreview https://wp.me/p5gEM4-460 via @SandraDanby