For the Day Five #PersephoneReadathon Read This Challenge, I’m here with a few book recommendations based on specific Persephone titles.
I’ve also included three bonus books that fans of Persephone Books might want to pick up.
If you adored Diary of a Provincial Lady by E. M. Delafield… you might also like The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street by Helene Hanff, Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding and/or These Wonderful Rumours! by May Smith
I can’t find out for certain, but surely there’s no way Helen Fielding wasn’t inspired in part by Diary of a Provincial Lady when she created Bridget Jones’s Diary, right!?!
The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street is the sequel to Helene Hanff’s 84, Charing Cross Road, and it reminded me of a real life version of The Diary of a Provincial Lady series, specifically The Provincial Lady in America.
So far, I’ve only read the introduction in my copy of These Wonderful Rumours!: A Young Schoolteacher’s Wartime Diaries, but May Smith was a huge fan of The Diary of a Provincial Lady. She was apparently influenced by its style in the recording of her own experiences as a teacher in wartime England.
If you enjoyed The Making of a Marchioness by Frances Hodgson Burnett and/or Lady Rose and Mrs. Memmary by Ruby Ferguson… you might also enjoy The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery
All three books share a fairytale-like quality and feature heroines who subvert social conventions to find their happy ever after. They are sweet, gentle reads that are sure to brighten your day.
If you loved the fun 1930’s setting and Cinderella-like story of Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson…you might also love Nightingale Wood by Stella Gibbons
Both novels are incredibly charming, effervescent reads with plenty of wit and glamour.
And lastly, I wanted to share three books that Persephone readers might enjoy:
The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy
The story of a young American woman living it up in 1950’s Paris. It’s quirky, glamorous, laugh-out-loud funny, and quite progressive for its time. The Dud Avocado seems to evoke strong reactions of either love or hate, but if it sounds appealing to you, give it a try.
West with the Night by Beryl Markham
This may just be the best memoir I have ever read. Beryl Markham led a fascinating life, and her effortless prose is simply stunning. Here, she recounts her childhood in Kenya, her work as a racehorse trainer, and her experience as the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic from East to West.
The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice
One of my all-time favorite comfort reads, The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets is a historical fiction novel I wish more people were familiar with. It’s a delightful coming-of-age story set (partly) in 1950’s London with a cast of characters I desperately want to befriend. There’s a crumbling country estate, champagne, dinner parties, Dior dresses, music obsessions, and magic tricks. A fun, frothy read with a surprising amount of emotional depth.
Have you read any of these? Did a specific title catch your interest?