I’ve recently discovered Persephone Books, a London publisher and bookshop which is republishing a huge range of the women’s novels from the 1930s to the 60s. It’s been a wonderful find, as I read many of these books as a teenager and it’s such a joy to discover them again. I’ve just re-read Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle, Mollie Panter-Downes’ One Fine Day and Noel Streatfield’s Saplings. And I also loved A Very Great Profession: The Woman’s Novel 1914-1939, which is written by Nicola Beauman who started Persephone Books. It’s a wonderfully intelligent and interesting read which provides an overview of the novels of those years. The Persephone website is an absolute treat you’ll find it at www.persephonebooks.co.uk
What started me on this pursuit of books from the thirties onwards was buying a copy of Vita Sackville West’s All Passion Spent when I was in Hobart earlier this year. I’d never read that book and loved it so much that I was drawn back into that era. It also gave me an idea for my own next novel which I’ve now started writing. The theme translates so well in to the 21st century and so I have my fingers crossed that I can make it work.