Stella Gibbons - Nightingale Wood - Little, Brown Book Group

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    • ISBN:9780748127535
    • Publication date:17 Feb 2011
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Nightingale Wood

By Stella Gibbons

  • Paperback
  • £9.99

A modern, satirical fairytale that has been unavailable for decades, by the author of COLD COMFORD FARM

Life is not quite a fairytale for poor Viola. Left penniless, the young widow is forced to live with her late husband's family in a joyless old house. There's Mr Wither, a tyrannical old miser, Mrs Wither, who thinks Viola is just a common shop girl, and two unlovely sisters-in-law, one of whom is in love with the chauffeur. Only the prospect of the charity ball can raise Viola's spirits - especially as Victor Spring, the local prince charming, will be there. But Victor's intentions towards our Cinderella are, in short, not quite honourable . . .

Biographical Notes

Stella Dorothea Gibbons was born in London in 1902. She studied journalism at University College, London, and worked for ten years on various papers, including the Evening Standard. Her first novel Cold Comfort Farm (1932) was (and is) hugely successful. She married the actor and singer Allan Webb, who died in 1959. They had one daughter. Stella Gibbons died in 1989.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9781844085729
  • Publication date: 02 Apr 2009
  • Page count: 400
  • Imprint: Virago
NIGHTINGALE WOOD is in essence, a sprawling, delightful, eccentric fairy tale . . . There is romance galore, a transformative dress, and a ball, much dizzy kissing in hedgerows and beyond, spying, retribution and runaways, fights and a fire, poetry and heartbreak, a few weddings AND funerals, and a fairytale ending with a twist. What luxury to stumble upon this quirky book, and the fascinating modern woman who wrote it. It is a rare unadulterated pleasure and high time for its encore — Sophie Dahl
Virago

Jonah's Gourd Vine

Zora Neale Hurston
Authors:
Zora Neale Hurston

With a new introduction by JESMYN WARD Born on the wrong side of the creek, John Buddy Pearson, the son of a slave, has come a long way since his shoeless days. With some schooling, a job and marriage to clever Lucy Potts, his fortunes are looking up. But, unable to resist the lure of women or a fight, he's forced to flee town or face life on the chain gang.John finds himself in Sanford, Florida, and sends for Lucy and the children. There, he discovers a talent for preaching, and, with the support of his wife, becomes pastor of Zion Hope Church, rousing his congregation with his fervent sermons. He is now a pillar of the community, respected and popular. Before long, though, he is praying for his own sins - for his powers of persuasion aren't limited to the pulpit - and the town won't stand for his philandering ways.Originally published in 1934, this is Zora Neale Hurston's first novel.

Abacus

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Patrick Hamilton
Authors:
Patrick Hamilton
Virago

Corregidora

Gayl Jones
Authors:
Gayl Jones

'Corregidora is the most brutally honest and painful revelation of what has occurred, and is occurring, in the souls of Black men and women' JAMES BALDWIN'No novel about any black woman could ever be the same after this' TONI MORRISONUpon publication in 1975, Corregidora was hailed as a masterpiece, winning acclaim from writers including James Baldwin, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison and John Updike. Exploring themes such as race, sexuality and the long repercussions of slavery, this powerful novel paved the way for Beloved and The Colour Purple. Now, this lost classic is published for a new generation of readers.Blues singer Ursa is consumed by her hatred of Corregidora, a nineteenth-century slave master who fathered both her mother and grandmother. Charged with 'making generations' to bear witness to the abuse embodied in the family name, Ursa Corregidora finds herself unable to keep alive this legacy when she is made sterile in a violent fight with her husband. Haunted by the ghosts of a Brazilian plantation, pained by a present of lovelessness and despair, Ursa slowly and firmly strikes her own terms with womanhood.AS HEARD ON THE BACKLISTED PODCASTAlso new to the VMC list: Eva's Man and The Healing by Gayl Jones.'An American writer with a powerful sense of vital inheritance, of history in the blood' JOHN UPDIKE'Gayl Jones's first novel, Corregidora (1975), was both shocking and ground-breaking in its probing of the psychological legacy of slavery and sexual ownership through the life of a Kentucky blues singer ... it predated Alice Walker's The Color Purple and Toni Morrison's Beloved, revealing an unfinished emancipation and the power of historical memory to shape lives. It also marked a shift in African-American literature that made women, and relationships between black people, central' MAYA JAGGI, Guardian'Corregidora's survey of trauma and overcoming has become even better and more relevant with the passage of time. It remains an indispensable point of entry into the tradition of African American writing that Gayl Jones reshaped and enriched' PAUL GILROY

Virago

The Dud Avocado

Elaine Dundy
Authors:
Elaine Dundy
Virago

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Susan Ferrier
Authors:
Susan Ferrier
Abacus

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Patrick Hamilton
Authors:
Patrick Hamilton

'I recommend Hamilton at every opportunity, because he was such a wonderful writer and yet is rather under-read today. All his novels are terrific' Sarah Waters'If you were looking to fly from Dickens to Martin Amis with just one overnight stop, then Hamilton is your man' Nick HornbyThe Midnight Bell, a pub on the Euston Road, is the pulse of this brilliant and compassionate trilogy. It is here where the barman, Bob, falls in love with Jenny, a West End prostitute who comes in off the streets for a gin and pep. Around his obsessions, and Ella the barmaid's secret love for him, swirls the sleazy life of London in the 1930s. This is a world where people emerge from cheap lodgings in Pimlico to pour out their passions, hopes and despair in pubs and bars - a world of twenty thousand streets full of cruelty and kindness, comedy and pathos, wasted dreams and lost desires.

Virago

Marling Hall

Angela Thirkell
Authors:
Angela Thirkell
Virago

The Headmistress

Angela Thirkell
Authors:
Angela Thirkell

Barsetshire in the latter years of the Second World War is a peaceful and gossipy place, but there has been one lively change. A girls' school, evacuated from London, has taken over Harefield Park. Miss Sparling seems to be the perfect headmistress: she dresses as a headmistress should and is an easy and erudite conversationalist. Her new neighbours like her and her pupils respect her, but there is something missing from her life; something which - though she never dreamt it when she arrived - perhaps Barsetshire can provide...

Virago

Miss Bunting

Angela Thirkell
Authors:
Angela Thirkell
Abacus

Hangover Square

Patrick Hamilton
Authors:
Patrick Hamilton
Virago

People Who Knock on the Door

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith
Virago

Before Lunch

Angela Thirkell
Authors:
Angela Thirkell
Virago

Northbridge Rectory

Angela Thirkell
Authors:
Angela Thirkell

As the war continues it brings its own set of trials to the the village of Northbridge. Eight officers of the Barsetshire Regiment have been billeted at the rectory, and Mrs Villars, the Rector's wife, is finding the attentions of Lieutenant Holden (who doesn't seem to mind that she is married to his host) quite exhausting. The middle-aged ladies and gentlemen who undertake roof-spotting from the church tower are more concerned with their own lives than with any possible parachutist raids. There is the love triangle of Mr Downing, his redoubtable hostess Miss Pemberton and the hospitable Mrs Turner at the Hollies. And, to add to Mrs Villar's woes, egocentric, imperious Mrs Spender, the Major's wife, is foisted on the rectory when she is bombed out of her London home. First published in 1941, Northbridge Rectory is a captivating comedy of an English village in the War years.

Virago

Small g: A Summer Idyll

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith
Virago

The Fox at the Manger

P. L. Travers
Authors:
P. L. Travers
Virago

The Mask of Apollo

Mary Renault
Authors:
Mary Renault

'Mary Renault is a shining light to both historical novelists and their readers. She does not pretend the past is like the present, or that the people of ancient Greece were just like us. She shows us their strangeness; discerning, sure-footed, challenging our values, piquing our curiosity, she leads us through an alien landscape that moves and delights us' HILARY MANTEL'Mary Renault's portraits of the ancient world are fierce, complex and eloquent, infused at every turn with her life-long passion for the Classics. Her characters live vividly both in their own time, and in ours' MADELINE MILLERCombining the scholarship of a historian with the imagination of a novelist, Mary Renault brings the ancient Greek stage thrillingly to life.Set in fourth-century B.C. Greece, The Mask of Apollo is narrated by Nikeratos, a tragic actor who takes with him on all his travels a gold mask of Apollo, a relic of the theatre's golden age, which is now past. At first his mascot, the mask gradually becomes his conscience, and he refers to it his gravest decisions, when he finds himself at the centre of a political crisis in which the philosopher Plato is also involved. Much of the action is set in Syracuse, where Plato's friend Dion is trying to persuade the young tyrant Dionysios the Younger to accept the rule of law. Through Nikeratos' eyes, the reader watches as the clash between the two unleashes all the pent-up violence in the city.'All my sense of the ancient world - its values, its style, the scent of its wars and passions - comes from Mary Renault. I turned to writing historical fiction because of something I learned from Renault: that it lets you shake off the mental shackles of your own era, all the categories and labels, and write freely about what really matters to you' EMMA DONOGHUE 'There's much to wonder at in the way she fills in the large dark spaces where we know next to nothing about the times she describes . . . an important and wonderful writer . . . she set a course into serious-minded, psychologically intense historical fiction that today seems more important than ever' - Sam Jordison, Guardian

Virago

The Praise Singer

Mary Renault
Authors:
Mary Renault

'Mary Renault's portraits of the ancient world are fierce, complex and eloquent, infused at every turn with her life-long passion for the Classics. Her characters live vividly both in their own time, and in ours' MADELINE MILLERMary Renault is a shining light to both historical novelists and their readers. She does not pretend the past is like the present, or that the people of ancient Greece were just like us. She shows us their strangeness; discerning, sure-footed, challenging our values, piquing our curiosity, she leads us through an alien landscape that moves and delights us' HILARY MANTELIn the story of the great lyric poet Simonides, Mary Renault brings alive a time in Greece when tyrants kept an unsteady rule and poetry, music, and royal patronage combined to produce a flowering of the arts. Born into a stern farming family on the island of Keos, Simonides escapes his harsh childhood through a lucky apprenticeship with a renowned Ionian singer. As they travel through 5th century B.C. Greece, Simonides learns not only how to play the kithara and compose poetry, but also how to navigate the shifting alliances surrounding his rich patrons. He is witness to the Persian invasion of Ionia, to the decadent reign of the Samian pirate king Polykrates, and to the fall of the Pisistratids in the Athenian court. Along the way, he encounters artists, statesmen, athletes, thinkers, and lovers, including the likes of Pythagoras and Aischylos. Using the singer's unique perspective, Renault combines her vibrant imagination and her formidable knowledge of history to establish a sweeping, resilient vision of a golden century.'There's much to say about her interweaving of myth and history and, just as interestingly, there's much to wonder at in the way she fills in the large dark spaces where we know next to nothing about the times she describes . . . an important and wonderful writer . . . she set a course into serious-minded, psychologically intense historical fiction that today seems more important than ever' - Sam Jordison, Guardian

Virago

The Last of the Wine

Mary Renault
Authors:
Mary Renault

'All my sense of the ancient world - its values, its style, the scent of its wars and passions - comes from Mary Renault. Her Theseus novels are perhaps the most exciting of her Greek fictions, and The Last of the Wine the most moving. I turned to writing historical fiction because of something I learned from Renault: that it lets you shake off the mental shackles of your own era, all the categories and labels, and write freely about what really matters to you' EMMA DONOGHUE'Mary Renault's portraits of the ancient world are fierce, complex and eloquent, infused at every turn with her life-long passion for the Classics. Her characters live vividly both in their own time, and in ours' MADELINE MILLERCombining the scholarship of a historian with the imagination of a novelist, Mary Renault masterfully brings the ancient world to life in this page-turning drama of the Peloponnesian War.Alexias, a young Athenian of good family, comes of age during the last phases of the Peloponnesian War. The adult world he enters is one in which the power and influence of his class have been undermined by the forces of war. Alexias finds himself drawn to the controversial teachings of Socrates, following him even though it at times endangers both his own life and his family's place in society. Among the great teacher's followers Alexias meets Lysis, and the two youths become inseparable - together they wrestle in the palaestra, journey to the Olympic Games, and fight in the wars against Sparta. As their relationship develops against the background of famine, siege and civil conflict, Mary Renault expertly conveys the intricacies of classical Greek culture.'Mary Renault is a shining light to both historical novelists and their readers. She does not pretend the past is like the present, or that the people of ancient Greece were just like us. She shows us their strangeness; discerning, sure-footed, challenging our values, piquing our curiosity, she leads us through an alien landscape that moves and delights us' HILARY MANTEL'The most vivid and convincing reconstruction of ancient Greek life that I have ever seen' Sunday Times

Virago

The Bull from the Sea

Mary Renault
Authors:
Mary Renault
Virago

The King Must Die

Mary Renault
Authors:
Mary Renault

This brilliant retelling of the story of Theseus, the king of Athens, brings Greek mythology vividly to life and remains 'one of the truly fine historical novels of modern times' (The New York Times)Theseus is the grandson of the King of Troizen, but his paternity is shrouded in mystery - can he really be the son of the god Poseidon? When he discovers his father's sword beneath a rock, his mother must reveal his true identity: Theseus is the son of Aegeus, King of Athens, and is his only heir. So begins Theseus's perilous journey to his father's palace to claim his birthright, escaping bandits and ritual king sacrifice in Eleusis, to slaying the Minotaur in Crete. Renault reimagines the Theseus myth, creating an original, exciting story.'Mary Renault's portraits of the ancient world are fierce, complex and eloquent, infused at every turn with her life-long passion for the Classics. Her characters live vividly both in their own time, and in ours' (Madeline Miller, bestselling author of Circe)'Mary Renault is a shining light to both historical novelists and their readers' (Hilary Mantel, bestselling author of Wolf Hall)