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How I came to writing

Like most authors, I've been fascinated by books since an early age. Because my parents were working (yes, I had a very modern mummy, ...

Friday, November 14, 2014

When reading a novel...

do you also like the fact you're familiar with the places described in some of the scenes?

Right now, while reading the latest Peter Robinson - Abattoir Blues (the 22nd Inspector Banks thriller) - I can view some of the places Banks goes in my mind. You see, these novels are set in Yorkshire, and just a while ago my sister and I visited there.

When Banks goes to Pizza Express near the Corn Exchange in Lees, I know where it is. I also know Granary Wharf, where one of the suspects has his office. Our hotel in Leeds was at Granary Row.

Also, there is a Scottish TV series with a coroner in the headrole, set in Edinburgh. Whenever he walks through the streets, I can walk along, just like I did last year in July.

I have this thing about places I've read about in a novel. When I read one where the scene was set in Newport, Rhode Island, we went there the next summer. Just the same with Hyannis. This also figured in another book.

How about you? What are your experiences with novels, places and characters in it?

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Love reading: Mary of Carisbrooke (Margaret Campbell-Barnes)

Thank God for Amazon! Recently most my youth's favorite novels have been made available for Kindle reading.

One of those writers I so very much loved is Margaret Campbell-Barnes. She wrote beautiful books about certain episodes in English history. I have read most of her books in Dutch translation, but nowadays you can't  find back those books in the public library.

While browsing for lost treasures, I came across Mary of Carisbrooke, one of the books I loved to read over and over.

What is the best about Ms. Campbell-Barnes's writing is that it is so very humane. She tells a story about some historical character from the viewpoint of ordinary people- who fall in love, are betrayed, do all the stupid things we all do.

Mary of Carisbrooke tells the story of Mary Floyd, daughter of Sergeant Floyd of the garrison at Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight. Her ordinary (but happy) life stops when King Charles I seeks refuge on the island. It is the period of Civil War. The governor, appointed by Parliament, is in doubt of what to do, but his second in command, Captain Rolph, has less scrupules.

Soon afterwards, Mary meets the men who are to form the court of the exiled King. Among them are two young men: Harry Firebrace and Richard Osborne. Mary falls in love with Firebrace, who 'forgets' to mention he is already married. He's the one to think out a plan to let the king escape the castle and seek refuge in France. But his plan is thwarted not once but twice.

When the king tries to climb through his window for the second time, Mary's father is killed by Rolph. The king is tranfered to England where he will meet his death.

In the end, it is Richard Osborne who can give Mary some solace. He has loved her ever since he came to Carisbrooke, and finally she finds she can also love him.

Together to go to Holland, where they are going to be part of King Charles II's court in exile.

A beautiful story, and well-written!