One of my favourite bookshops is Barter Books in Alnwick, so a trip there is always a treat. We were actually on our way to visit friends in Lancashire but stopped for a coffee in the shop, which is in a converted railway station, absolutely full of all kinds of books. I didn’t have any books in mind and just browsed the shelves, finding these, all in great condition:
- An Omnibus edition of Wycliffe by W J Burley – Wycliffe and the Last Rites and Wycliffe and the House of Fear. I haven’t read any of the Wycliffe books before but if these two are anything to go by I’ll be looking for more. They are murder mysteries set in Cornwall where Burley lived. He was a schoolmaster until he retired to concentrate on writing. These two novels concern the deaths of two women, one from a community filled with hatred and the other from a dysfunctional family. Looking at the long list of Wycliffe books there will be plenty more to choose from.
- The Women’s Room by Marilyn French. Wikipedia tells me that ‘it has been described as one of the most influential novels of the modern feminist movement.’ It was first published in 1977 to a barrage of criticism. Set in 1968 it describes Mira’s life as she decides it’s time for a change after subscribing for years to the American dream of husband, children and a spotless kitchen.
- Two Moons by Jennifer Johnston. This looks like a brand new copy, with no creases on the spine as though it has never been read. I enjoyed The Illusionist a while ago and hope this one will be as good. Set in Ireland, it’s about three generations of women, ‘a modern fairy tale with a dark theme.’
- Past Imperfect by Julian Fellowes, described on the back cover as a story that takes us back to the Debutante Season of 1968 – ‘Poignant, funny, fascinating and moving’ .
It was a good job that we only had a limited time in Barter Books, or I could easily have bought more books.