is just around the corner. Yes it is! This year, instead of a whole week, it’s just a weekend. Long enough to squeeze in one book, in my case. Both Claire aka Paperback Reader and Verity aka Cardigan Girl Verity did a tremendous job hosting Persephone Week last year, rounding up reviews, writing short summaries, introducing readers as well as reading books themselves that I’m sure it must have been exhausting! So a weekend is kind of nice. Short and sweet.

I’ve only read two Persephone titles so far: Good Evening, Mrs. Craven: The War-time Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes and A Very Great Profession: The Woman’s Novel 1914-1939, both of which I enjoyed. So what will I be reading next weekend? I have a choice of seven titles and haven’t quite decided yet.

What about you? Will you be joining us?

A Very Great Profession was conceived ten years ago when I first saw the film of Brief Encounter on television. In it the heroine, Laura Jesson, goes into the local town every week to do a bit of shopping, have a cafe lunch, go to the cinema and change her library book. This is the highlight of her week. It was the glimpse of her newly borrowed Kate O’Brien in her shopping basket that made me want to find out about the other novels the doctor’s wife had been reading during her life as ‘a respectable married woman with a husband and a home and three children.’

Hooray! I’ve been meaning to finish this book for months since I first began it for the Persephone Reading Week way back in May 2010. Oops. It wasn’t that it was hard or slow to read, just that I got side-tracked by other novels. Because, you see, A Very Great Profession is a non-fiction, literary and social history of the woman’s novel from the interwar years. It all makes sense when you recall Nicola Beauman is the founder of Persephone Books and I’m reading the Persephone edition of her book. But it just shows how out of touch I am with reading non-fiction since I hung up my academic hat.

I do have to say that when I got back to reading A Very Great Profession I went right back to the beginning and started it anew. Beauman’s study is very candid, full of dangerous information for the serious bibliophile interested in women’s fiction or the interwar period and is immensely enjoyable to read. The book is divided thematically covering war, surplus women, feminism, domesticity, sex, psychoanalysis, romance and love with liberal sprinklings of quotations taken from novels written by women during this period. Beauman also discusses the growing freedom of women and their realisation that they can do things for themselves.

At once a feminist text and a social history of the woman’s novel in the interwar years, it is also a book about the middle class woman. Beauman doesn’t apologise for this and why should she? Most or all of the novels published by women during this period were written by and for middle class women. If you are chronicling them, then it must by so.

If you have read any Persephone or Virago books, you will be familiar with the themes Beauman addresses. What probably strikes one the hardest is that if you take away modern conveniences and the rise in female employment, education and marriage laws, many of the themes questioned by the women in these novels remain the same today.

Often described derogatorily as domestic or interior, the literary world did not take these novels seriously, something Virginia Woolf was also complaining about in A Room of One’s Own. Unless it was about war, sport, the aristocracy or politics, male literary figures were not interested. Perhaps that is exaggerating the point but I don’t think it’s something you can dismiss. And you all know what I think about the term ‘women’s fiction’. I do understand that they it’s a genre (and I’m becoming lazy and use it myself which makes me uncomfortable) but then why don’t we use the term ‘men’s fiction’ when talking about books written by men with male characters? Grrr.

Some of the themes she discusses include employment, single life vs marriage (spinsterhood vs imprisoned wife), domesticity as a yoke where increasing modern conveniences, employment and education meant women were saddled with more and needed to juggle all aspects of their lives (a dilemma also faced by many women today) and the ‘hidden life’ of many housewives, a very good profession that remained unacknowledged and unpaid.

I enjoyed this book tremendously. It’s articulate, informative and makes you want to go out and get these books Beauman talks so enthusiastically about. Often the novels depict a tragic/oppressive situation and is often pretty dark. I hardly think they qualify as ‘silly novels written by women’. To the women who wrote and read these novels, the issues addressed are often serious and tragic for the female characters. As Beauman says, it’s the ‘drama of the undramatic’.

My favourite bit of the book is Beauman’s afterword written in 1995, 12 years after it was first published, where she describes the circumstances that led to her writing this book and the changes that were made to its first incarnation including the history and influences that affected her. What an inspiring woman and it’s making me look at my Persephone books with new eyes. Highly recommended and it’s a keeper.

When Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides was first published in paperback in 2003, I rushed out to buy it together with a copy of Donna Tartt’s The Little Friend. I read Tartt’s book but Middlesex stayed firmly unopened on my shelf. Then I moved house and it stayed unopened in one of the boxes of books I kept at my sister’s. Where it still hides, somewhere. I kept meaning to read it because of all the wonderful reviews floating around, but somehow it always seemed a little difficult: the subject matter, the writing, the thickness of the book. I gave a little whoop of delight when I realised this was to be the choice of my book group this month only to realise I no longer knew where my pristine copy lay, so I reserved one from my local library just in time to take on my little flying visit to Munich a few weekends ago. But oh, how I wish I had opened the first few pages and plunged in all those years ago, because it’s a beautiful book.

In Middlesex, Eugenides has really written the Great American Novel. It’s been compared to Franzen’s The Corrections, but I much prefer this one. It’s less gritty, amoral and depressing but there is a grand sweep of history, destiny and the cycle of life. No wonder it won the Pulitzer Prize for 2003. Eugenides tackles American, Greek and Turkish history, immigrant life, genetics, sexual theory and hermaphroditism in a way that increases your knowledge without overwhelming you. His prose is warm and sumptious and you can just sit back and let him work the magic because you feel like you’ve met these people and they live their lives for you. In the hands of a writer less talented, less rigorous, this book could have become too serious, too tragic, even boring. But it was a delight to read and kept me nose-in-book for hours and I finished this in three sittings. Pretty good going for literary fiction.

Middlesex is the story of Calliope Stephanides and her family and how the recessive gene that culminated in her hermaphroditism travelled through her bloodline from Greek occupied Turkey to Detroit. How she grew up as a beautiful girl named Calliope to become a man named Cal. It’s not just about her, it’s about the people around her, her parents, her grandparents and all her cousins, her friends and lovers. It’s about growing up and the search for the self, trying to fit in, questioning. In no way did I find Eugenides’ treatment of Calliope’s story to be too dramatic or exploitative because everything in the book, especially her family, was one big drama. Yet it’s not all perfect either. The scenes with Cal as an adult didn’t feel as complete as those when she was growing up or about her family. And sometimes it confused me a little when Eugenides cuts from the present to the past (which he does frequently.) But these are tiny grains of sand in the shoe because it’s a beautifully realised book. And Calliope is probably one the most sympathetic, thoughtful and strong characters I’ve ever come across.

I’m a big fan of Sophia Coppola’s film interpretation of Eugenides’ first novel, The Virgin Suicides. But you know what, I’m going to go back and read the book. Because Middlesex is probably one of the best books I’ve read this year, and Eugenides has fast become one of my favourite authors.

This would have been a great book for the Women Unbound Challenge because it not only addresses the issues of gender and feminism in different societies and times but it’s a book about women. It’s really opened the scope beyond thinking about gender in a purely female/male dialogue to show that there is a whole area that hasn’t been addressed much in mainstream fiction. And I like the way Eugenides writes about women: gentle, funny and strong.

I’ve had A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf for a number of year now and although I had every intention of reading it, somehow time slipped through my fingers and it lay unopened on my shelf until the Women Unbound challenge thrust it into the spotlight. I’m not the first to admit that Woolf scares me a little. And I haven’t attempted to read any of her fiction yet, although I have To the Lighthouse and The Waves on my shelves. You can probably tell I didn’t do a literature degree! This was the first book that came to mind when I began the challenge a year ago and I was determined to read it before the close. And I can bang my head against the wall because I wish I hadn’t dithered so and just opened the d*mned book and started earlier because it surprised me at how easy Woolf’s prose was to read. Really. But there’s a lot in there. So just to warn you, this is going to be a REALLY LONG post, but I hope you read it:)

Woolf’s most famous words were:

a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction

Or to paraphrase, in order to write, a woman will need a room of her own and £500 a year (which is what Woolf’s aunt left her upon her death). I calculated what this meant in modern currency and it gave a sum of approx. £16,500. And I’m assuming that is without having the need to work. I suppose I could live on that amount alone and if I didn’t have to work, I may even be able to write. And to have a room which can be locked from the inside would indeed be bliss. You can shut out the world and all the chores you are required to do and just get some head space. I did, however, blink in surprise when she said if she had to choose between the vote or money, she would take financial freedom (married women over 30 were given the vote in 1919). And she urges all women to get out their, find work and become financially independent.

What really warmed me to Woolf is how funny she is. She doesn’t write like some pontificating grande dame who looks down upon the unenlightened and tells you how to think. Her prose is engaging and what shocked me was how relevant her arguments are even today. Men may bang on about how tiresome the same old arguments are, but frankly, they can go on banging on about it because unless things change, the plight of women will remain the same. I kept nodding at each page because I agreed with Woolf and because she manages to articulate the anger and bewilderment that many of us experience including myself. I really didn’t expect to keep on agreeing with every word she said because they are relevant today.

One of the things that struck me in the past when I first began thinking about feminism and women’s place in society is that behind each oppressive act was an anger towards women that I simply could not understand. Why would you need to keep a women in her place, tied to the bed and kitchen? Why weren’t women allowed to work? Why weren’t they allowed an education? And why weren’t they given the opportunity to make their own choices? Why is it that women had to conform to rules made by men which didn’t apply to themselves? The hypocrisy alone makes me boil with rage.

My bewilderment may sound naïve, but I was brought up in a household where I never had to question these things. I, and most of my friends, grew up thinking it was our right to have an education and a job and not to think that marriage was the endpoint to our upbringing and that motherhood was the sole reason for our existence. And I still believe that, although I have no quarrels with marriage (provided I get to choose my own husband) or children (I love babies and it’s good to have family around you when you grow old). Our fathers never had to exert control over our families because they made decisions together with our mothers. I’m not against men and I certainly don’t hate them. I rather like most of the men in my life and I feel women need men as much as men need women.

In A Room of One’s Own, Woolf discusses precisely this anger that many male writers were unable to hide in their rantings against women. And the only conclusion she can rationally come up with is that women have the power to shrink a man’s ego, an unforgiveable sin. It’s interesting because in many a discussion I’ve had with friends, we always end up saying that it is because men fear women that they feel the need to oppress them. But I don’t understand this fear either. But Woolf explains,

Possibly they were not ‘angry’ at all; often, indeed, they were admiring, devoted, expemplary in the relations of private life. Possibly when the professor insisted a little too emphatically upon the inferiority of women, he was concerned not with their inferiority, but with his own superiority. That was what he was protecting rather hot-headedly and with too much emphasis, because it was a jewel to him of the rarest price.

Does it explain my astonishment of the other day when Z, most human, most modest of men, taking up some book by Rebecca West and reading a passage in it, exclaimed, ‘The arrant feminist! She says that men are snobs!’ The exclamation to me so surprising – for why was Miss West an arrant feminist for making a possibly true if uncomplimentary statement about the other sex? – was not merely a cry of wounded vanity; it was a protest against some infringement of his power to believe in himself. Women served all these centuries as looking-glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size.

That serves to explain in part the necessity that women so often are to men. And it serves to explain how restless they are under her criticism; how impossible it is for her to say to them this book is bad, this picture is feeble, or whatever it may be, without giving far more pain and rousing far more anger than a man would do who gave the same criticsm. for if she begins to tell the truth, the figure in the looking-glass shrink, his fitness for life is diminished. How is he to go on giving judgement, civilizing native, making laws, writing books, dressing up and speechifying at banquest, unless he can see himself at breakfast and at dinner at least twice the size he really is?

This may be a simplistic argument, and rather tongue-in-cheek, but you get the drift.

In the introduction, Hermione Lee says A Room of One’s Own is about education, exclusion and writing. Woolf tackles all three subjects and shows how intertwined and inseparable they are. Published in 1928, A Room of One’s Ownwas originally a lecture titled Women and Fiction. Going back through literary history, Woolf shows us why there is no female equivalent of Shakespeare, how circumstances would have prevented say, for example, Shakespeare’s sister (if he had one) from accomplishing the same even if she had the gift. (On an aside, I’m really happy coming across the term Shakespeare’s sister here as lots of connections and quotes fall into place:))

Woolf also spends a large part of the essay discussing Austen and the Brontës, comparing the way they created their work: Austen hiding as she wrote and Charlotte Brontë rebelling against her lot in life. It seems as though Charlotte’s anger and rebellion, although creating an interesting and real character in Jane Eyre is also the cause of it’s failure as a novel compared to Pride & Prejudice. Interesting, no? But why is this? Woolf goes on to explain,

But how all this be affected by the sex of the novelist, I wondered, looking at Jane Eyre and the others. Would the fact of her sex in any way interfere with the integrity of a woman novelist – that integrity which I take to be the backbone of the writer? Now in the passages I quoted form Jane Eyre, it is clear that anger was tampering with the integrity of Charlotte Brontë the novelist. She left her story, to which her entire devotion was due to attend to some personal grievance. She remembered that she had been starved of her proper due of experience – she had been made to stagnate in a parsonage mending stockings when she wanted to wander free over the world. Her imagination swerved from indignation and we feel it swerve. But there were many more influences than anger tugging at her imagination and deflecting it from its path. The portrait of Rochester is drawn in the dark. We feel the influence of fear in it; just as we constantly feel an acidity which is the result of oppression, a buried suffering smouldering beneath her passion, a rancour which contracts those books, splendid as they are, with a spasm of pain.

Here Woolf is referring to her earlier theory that if you are a woman and weighed down by poverty, it is almost impossible to write not only because of the lack of finance and space, but because of the feeling of bitterness that will pervade you.

She continues,

And since a novel has this correspondence to real life, its values are to some extent those of real life. But it is obvious that the values of women differ very often from the values which have been made by the other sex; naturally, this is so. Yet it is the masculine values that prevail. Speaking crudely, football and sport are ‘important’; the worship of fashion, the buying of clothes ‘trivial’. And these values are inevitably transferred from life to ficton. This is an important book, the critic assumes, because it deals with war. This is an insignificant book because it deals with the feelings of women in a drawing-room. A scene in a battlefield is more important than a scene in a shop – everywhere and much more subtly the difference of value persists. … One has only to skim those old forgotten novels and listen to the tone of voice in which they are written to divine that the writer was meeting criticism;… She was admitting that she was ‘only a woman’, or protesting that she was ‘as good as a man’. She met that criticism as her temperament dictated, with docility and diffidence, or with anger and emphasis. it does not matter which it was; she was thinking of something other than the thing itself. Down comes her book upon our heads. There was a flaw in the centre of it. … She had altered her values in deference to the opinion of others.

But how impossible it must have been for them not to budge either to the right or to the left. What genius, what integrity it must have required in face of all that criticsm, in the midst of that purely patriarchal society, to hold fast to the thing as they saw it without shrinking. Only Jane Austen did it and Emily Brontë. … They wrote as women write, not as men write. Of all the thousand women who wrote novels then, they alone entirely ignored the perpetual admonitions of the eternal pedagogue – write this, think that. They alone were deaf to that persistent voice, now grumbling, now patronizing, now domineering, now grieved, now shocked, now angry, now avuncular, that the voice which cannot let women alone, but must be at them, like some too-consicentious governess, adjuring them … to be refined

However much she admires Charlotte Brontë, you can’t but get the feeling that there is too much raw passion and anger in her writing that somehow jarrs with Woolf. And regarding the importance of men’s fiction over women’s, don’t you get a sense of déjà vu re: Franzengate?

But then she contradicts herself with this:

The very first sentence that I would write here, I said, crossing over to the writing-table and taking up the page headed Women and Fiction, is that it is fatal for anyone who writes to think of their sex. It is fatal to be a man or woman pure and simple; one must be woman-manly or man-womanly. It is fatal for a woman to lay the least stress on any grievance; to plead even with justice and cause; in any way to speak consciously as a woman. And fatal is no figure of speech; for anything written with that conscious bias is doomed to death.

Hmm. So I’m a little confused now. It’s as though in order to be a writer, you must keep your own voice but not write like a woman. What does that mean? Anyone?

I could go on and on and probably end up quoting the whole book, so I’ll stop here. But I highly recommend you read this book. It’s a great introduction to issues that are still relevant today and will give you an idea of the complexity and inherent misogyny in our society. And she highlights the struggles faced by women writers who not only have to write spectacularly but outside the constraints of being a woman.

There have been some criticism of A Room of One’s Own where Woolf is accused of not being angry enough and having too soft a tone. It certainly isn’t a vitriolic diatribe against men, but I feel it brings out all the issues women should think about, sinks its hook into our minds and lets these ideas ferment and grow. This I think is the first step in thinking independently about our place in society and the choices we make.

I’m trying to finish Three Guineas, its sequel (about education, exclusion and war) which is also in the edition I have, but I don’t think I’ll have enough days to finish reading, thinking and writing about it in time for the challenge. But I will of course discuss it with you as I’m on a roll!

This completes my Women Unbound challenge. Yahay!

So, I’m sure a lot of you out there have read A Room of One’s Own. What did you think? Did you agree with Woolf? Did I misunderstand her? Did I put too many quotations in this post???

BBAW: Unexpected treasures

15 September, 2010

Book blogs are wonderful sources of books and there are many titles I have come across that I wouldn’t have known about otherwise. Today’s topic for BBAW is a book or genre that we wouldn’t have tried without our interest being piqued by another blog. As I’ve been reading books for many, many years, I’ve found that certain genres work for me and others not so much although I’m pretty open to trying. I normally read books that are mysteries, fantasy, historical fiction, especially those set in the medieval or interwar years and contemporary literary fiction plus a few classics and non-fiction thrown in.

Although I’m interested in women’s fiction, I haven’t really read many books in that genre (although I’m a bit ambivalent to the term ‘women’s fiction’ as a genre as it seems to denote something separate from normal fiction which I take issue with), it was only through the book blogging world that I came across the books published by Persephone Books. I’m sure everyone’s familiar with the green-spined Virago Modern Classics but Persephone Books was something new for me (even though they’ve been around for 10 years. It’s a wonderful publishing house that has re-discovered neglected works by female authors, what some would term ‘domestic fiction’ that chronicles the lives of women in a domestic setting. Persephone Reading Week is hosted in May by Paperback Reader and The B Files.

So far I’ve only completed one book Good Evening, Mrs. Craven: The War time stories of Mollie Panter-Downes for this year’s Persephone Reading Week but am in the middle of Nicola Beauman’s A Very Great Profession: The Woman’s Novel 1914-1939 which I’m enjoying very slowly. Beauman is the founder of Persephone Books and A Very Great Profession is a treasure trove of titles which isn’t very healthy for my TBR pile. I would recommend anyone interested in the social history of the early twentieth century and the interwar years to give it a try.

I also came across the Women Unbound Challenge co-hosted by Aarti of Booklust, Care of Care’s Online Book Club and Eva of A Striped Armchair. All three have wonderfully well thought out blogs where they really get to grips with lots of interesting issues raised by the books they read and I recommend that you check them all out. The challenge really made me think about issues that women face and the state of feminism in the 21st century. It also made me finally take up the books that I’ve been meaning to read for years but never actually got around to, both fiction and non-fiction, such as To Live and to Write: Selections by Japanese Women Writers 1913-1938 edited by Yukiko Tanaka and Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own.

So although I’ve still got some way to go before completing the challenge, I’d say that both the Women Unbound Challenge and the Persephone Reading Week have made me focus a lot more on issues of feminism and the role of women in literature.

And I just have to sneak in The Samurai by Shusaku Endo which I really enjoyed and was impressed with despite me thinking it would be a rather dry and difficult read. Endo’s most famous book Silence delighted many bloggers participating in Dolce Bellezza‘s Japanese Literature Challenge and also by Tanabata who blogs at In Spring It Is The Dawn and although I didn’t manage to get my hands on it, I found The Samurai instead. Most of the Japanese books I read are contemporary or set in the early 20th century but Endo’s book about a 17th century samurai struggling with his heritage and the encroachment of Christianity is historical fiction at its best: passionate, thoughtful and full of soul.

These are just a handful of books I’ve discovered which have enriched my reading experience. What about you?

It’s taken me ages to finish this, not because it was difficult or boring, but simply because I was also reading a handful of other books. I’m not sure whether it’s better to just stick with one book at a time or not. In the end you can only concentrate on the book in hand. But I’ve finished it and I want more! The title is taken from a quotation attributed to Hayashi Fumiko

‘to eat and to write are the two reasons for living’

To Live and to Write: Selections by Japanese Women Writers, 1913-1938 edited by Tanaka Yukiko, is a brilliant collection of biographical essays and short stories featuring nine Japanese women writers of the early 20th century. Even though most of the stories were published between 1913 and 1938, I was struck by how immediate the struggles and conflicts the women characters face. The historical setting and material descriptions place the stories in a different era but the realisations and the self-awareness are things which women today still experience. Reading the stories made me ponder deeply about what I myself want to do with my life. And these stories, so varied and unique, left a deep impression on me long after I finished them.

I didn’t sympathise or like all the heroines, and I certainly didn’t warm to the men they fell in love with, but each story and struggle was dynamic and heartbreaking, most happening internally. I was struck time and again by the searingly honest portrayal of the women’s inner struggles as they tried to juggle family life, financial security, love and their work. Their methods in obtaining money and work may not be acceptable to some, but when poverty grinds you down, you can only do what needs to be done to survive. The resilience and the strength portrayed by these characters, who at the same time hurt and were hurt by the people around them, was humbling.

Because of the period in history in which most of these stories were written, there is a strong emphasis on Communism and the harsh experiences these activists underwent at the hand of the authorities. What was also interesting to note was how the women were also let down by the Communist party which they joined in the belief that it would provide equality between men and women but which in reality only mirrored the social structure in wider society. Tanaka Yukiko, who edited this volume, does an admirable job in placing these novelists within their historical and literary context, and her essays shed a light upon their work as a whole. What was interesting was how autobiographical most of the fictional work were in how they mirrored the struggles of the characters and authors.

Although I had only heard of a few of these novelists, mainly Uno Chiyo and Hayashi Fumiko, I finished the volume deeply impressed and wanting to read more stories by all the writers: Tamura Toshiko, Miyamoto Yuriko, Hirabayashi Taiko, Hayashi Fumiko, Nakamoto Takako, Nogami Yaeko, Sata Ineko, Uno Chiyo and Okamoto Kanoko. An interesting aside is that many of these writers wrote for a literary magazine titled Seitō (or ‘bluestocking’). Many were well-read in Japanese and Western literature and were aware of the political and social changes occurring outside Japan.

Tanaka Yukiko has edited a couple of other anthologies which I would love to read: Women Writers of Meiji and Taisho Japan: Their Lives, Works and Critical Reception 1868-1926 and This Kind of Woman: Ten Stories by Japanese Women Writers 1960-1976 edited together with Elizabeth Hanson and Mona Nagai.

I read this for the Women Unbound Challenge.

Uno Chiyo © Minato City 2006

I had grand plans for this year’s Persephone Reading Week hosted by Claire and Verity but only managed to finish one book, Good Evening, Mrs. Craven: The Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes which was a delightful volume of short stories. I tried hard to finish A Very Great Profession: The Woman’s Novel 1914-1939 by Nicola Beauman but I’m still only half-way and couldn’t quite finish this weekend. No matter, I can now read it slowly and not feel rushed (but when did I ever read fast?) It’s a brilliant study of women’s literature which Beauman has resurrected with Persephone Books and there is ample discussion and quotations taken from the books which illustrate the evolution of interwar literature, mainly from a woman’s perspective. And who better than Beauman to do this, as she is probably the most knowledgeable of writers when it comes to this subject. For lovers of the interwar period and women’s fiction, A Very Great Profession will put a huge dent in your wallet and increase your TBR pile enormously. What I also find fascinating, and at the same time a little sad, is that the plight of many women do not seem all that different from the current situation (there have been huge changes, but you would be surprised at how many of the sentiments I have come across in my life I find in the literature dating back to the 1920s and 30s. Shocking, I know.)

Anyway, speaking of fascinating things, the first UK Book Bloggers’ Meet-up happened this Saturday. We all met in the Persephone Bookshop on Lamb’s Conduit Street before heading across to The Lamb for some sustenance both liquid and bookish. It was really wonderful to meet so many of you that I’ve become friends with since I started blogging. A big thank you to Simon from stuck in a book for organising this special event.

And of course, I will leave you with some books I got on the day:

Black Venus by Angela Carter which I won from Claire of Paperback Reader
26a by Diana Evans which I got for the bloggers’ book swap on Saturday from Polly of Novel Insights

And of course some Persephones:

Every Eye by Isobel English
A Woman’s Place 1910-1975 by Ruth Adam
Daddy’s Gone A-Hunting by Penelope Mortimer

And I’ve had my first plagiarism alert thanks to a kind reader. Someone called ‘Megan’ has ‘borrowed’ this review and posted it on a book review site word. for. word. Not impressed. Why would you do this? How difficult is it to write your own review? As you can tell, it pissed me off a little. The review site has corrected the error and taken her off the list. Naturally.