Book of the Week, September 21st 2019

Bone China

Laura Purcell

Bone China

Laura Purcell

Morvoren House, an isolated, grey, decaying manor perched atop the rugged Cornish cliffs is the perfect setting for this spooky gothic tale. Hester Why arrives on the mail coach from London, to become nursemaid to Miss Pinecroft an elderly, frail lady who sits in silence before her collection of fine bone china. The house holds … Continue reading Book of the Week, September 21st 2019

Morvoren House, an isolated, grey, decaying manor perched atop the rugged Cornish cliffs is the perfect setting for this spooky gothic tale. Hester Why arrives on the mail coach from London, to become nursemaid to Miss Pinecroft an elderly, frail lady who sits in silence before her collection of fine bone china. The house holds many mysteries; there are locked rooms and staff strangely obsessed with local folk lore and superstitions about the fairy folk.

Resourceful and bringing her own dark secrets, Hester soon begins to supplement the gin in her hip flask with laudanum stolen from the medical cupboard as she tries to make sense of her new situation.

She learns the reason for the old lady’s silent grief: the tragic events of 40 years earlier when consumption ran through the family and the caves beneath the house housed sick prisoners, guinea pigs for new healing ideas.

A deliciously suspenseful historical chiller.

Bloomsbury Hardback £12.99

Book of the Week, September 14th 2019

The Testaments

Margaret Atwood

The Testaments

Margaret Atwood

It is now 34 years since ‘The Handmaids Tale’ was published.  Set in Gilead, an imagined totalitarian state of the future where women’s roles are strictly controlled and individuality is outlawed it made an enormous impact. Adopted for study in schools and colleges and more recently made into a hugely popular TV series, its influence … Continue reading Book of the Week, September 14th 2019

It is now 34 years since ‘The Handmaids Tale’ was published.  Set in Gilead, an imagined totalitarian state of the future where women’s roles are strictly controlled and individuality is outlawed it made an enormous impact. Adopted for study in schools and colleges and more recently made into a hugely popular TV series, its influence has steadily grown.

This sequel returns to Gilead 15 years later. The secret writings of Aunt Lydia explain how Gilead developed and also how the power structure is beginning to fracture and weaken. Into this changing world are pitched the lively tales of two young women Agnes and Nicole, a new generation who have their own battles to face and identities to find.

With the rise in religious fundamentalism, extremism, fake news and the precarious political balance in many countries around the world, the themes explored in these novels seem more relevant now than ever.

Vintage Hardback £20.00

Book of the Week September 7th 2019

Excellent Essex

Gillian Darley

Excellent Essex

Gillian Darley

Essex is a difficult county to pin down. Even its boundaries have constantly shifted, with saltmarsh reclaimed from the sea for agriculture and land lost to expanding London in the south. Economically it is a place of contrasts. Affluent and charming, Saffron Walden in 2015 won a national vote for quality of life whilst 40 … Continue reading Book of the Week September 7th 2019

Essex is a difficult county to pin down. Even its boundaries have constantly shifted, with saltmarsh reclaimed from the sea for agriculture and land lost to expanding London in the south.

Economically it is a place of contrasts. Affluent and charming, Saffron Walden in 2015 won a national vote for quality of life whilst 40 miles away, Jaywick has twice topped the deprivation league table.

In Essex alternative ideas have flourished, experimental communities have grown and bold new model towns have been built. From Colchester Isaac Bunting opened up trade with the East, importing lilies from Japan whilst Chelmsford’s reputation for technological innovation attracted the young pioneering inventor, Marconi.

Nationally Essex may be known for white van man and for the fake tans and stilettos of TV’s TOWIE.  It might just be England’s most misunderstood county but behind the cliches this book uncovers a place of dynamism, optimism and extraordinary diversity.

Old Street Press Hardback, £14.99

Jumbo: The Water Tower

Book Cover
Brian Light

The Grade II* listed Jumbo is the largest remaining Victorian water tower in Britain, and an increasingly rare example of one in an original condition. The tower was nicknamed “Jumbo” after the London Zoo elephant as a term of derision in 1882 by Reverend John Irvine who was annoyed that the tower dwarfed his nearby … Continue reading Jumbo: The Water Tower

The Grade II* listed Jumbo is the largest remaining Victorian water tower in Britain, and an increasingly rare example of one in an original condition. The tower was nicknamed “Jumbo” after the London Zoo elephant as a term of derision in 1882 by Reverend John Irvine who was annoyed that the tower dwarfed his nearby rectory at St. Mary-at-the-Walls.

Jumbo has been recognised by Historic England as a structure of exceptional architectural and historic interest, and is of great importance both nationally and locally.

Brian Light has for many years worked to preserve Jumbo and in this book he tells the full story of the history of Colchester’s most iconic building.

Paperback, £9.99

Charles Debenham – the man who painted Colchester.

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Aged 14 Charles Debenham began evening classes at Colchester School of Art, training there as an illustrator full-time from 1948-53. In the early sixties he was appointed to the list of designers for The Crown Agents.  His clients included Anglian Water, British Telecom and National Rivers Authority, National Power and National Grid for whom he designed a great many Visitor and Educational Centres.   At St Paul’s Cathedral he designed The Royal Wedding (Charles & Diana) Exhibition. In parallel to this very productive career, Charles Debenham has always kept painting the buildings and landscapes of East Anglia. 

For Charles Debenham the streets are his studio.  Over the years he has sketched and painted numerous scenes from local towns and villages in East Anglia, including Nayland in Suffolk. In these paintings he adds charm and details of everyday life. His work which is essentially figurative has a strong adherence to ‘traditional’ skills. Painting in oil and using a muted palette, Charles paints outdoor most days, on the spot, and divides his paintings into two categories: the “wet weather paintings” and the “fair weather paintings”. In the case of the former they are paintings which he does under cover when it drizzles. In terms of composition he starts every time by establishing what he wants. Then he composes a sketch in which he continually makes corrections and changes. Painting a building is to him like painting a portrait. Each building has a personality. As for the size of the paintings they are usually the same for the simple reason that they fit in a paint box which he made himself and which he carries around on his painting outings. On these outings many people continuously stop and talk to him, something he particularly enjoys …in moderation.