The last two books I have read have both had very rural settings, its made me feel very grateful for my little home town surrounded by fields, woods, rivers and meadows!
My Dad loaned me this book that used to belong to his Mum, who sadly passed away when my Dad was only ten, so this was a very precious read. Off to the Lakes was published in 1949 and is a beautiful description of walks, hikes and ambles taken by Jessica and her friends all around the lake district.
The book follows the course of a year and my Dad recommends reading whatever walks correspond to the current season for the full immersive effect!
The writing is spectacular and poetic. Jessica Lofthouse clearly has a deep passion for the English countryside and she launches into magnificent descriptions of her surroundings at every point. Here is one example:
“The vale of Lorton is illuminated, the tree-tops gilded and every feature on the now familiar landscape transfigured. We come to the old Butteremere coach road, to the low intakes, the old stone farms with the last birds calling from orchard boughs. We pause to chat with farmers at leisure and cottage women standing by open doors, and the light fades. At last the mountains become black cut-outs, the stars come out and predatory owls pass over as we open the farm gate.”
There! Isn’t that marvelous! The whole book has that passion and breathless wonder of the world. It makes you want to put the book down and go outside and keep reading all at the same time. I highly recommend reading it with Google Maps open as well, so that you can look at the landmarks and follow the course of Jessica’s hikes!
As many of the walks took place in the 1940s there are some interesting references to the Second World War. It is a fascinating glimpse into history through the life of one remarkable woman!
Heartbroken after being jilted at the altar, Sybil has been saved from despair by her knitting obsession and now her home is filled to bursting with tea cosies, bobble hats, and jumpers. But, after discovering that she may have perpetrated the cock-up of the century at work, Sybil decides to make a hasty exit and, just weeks before Christmas, runs away to the picturesque village of Tindledale.
There, Sybil discovers Hettie’s House of Haberdashery, an emporium dedicated to the world of knitting and needle craft. But Hettie, the outspoken octogenarian owner, is struggling and now the shop is due for closure. And when Hettie decides that Sybil’s wonderfully wacky Christmas jumpers are just the thing to add a bit of excitement to her window display, something miraculous starts to happen…
I am such a shameless sucker for these kind of cosy books that I end up reading Christmas books whilst off on my Summer Holidays! These types of books are my guilty pleasure – where there is a tight-knit (get it?!) community that is good to one another, a make over, lots of yummy food and a happy ending!
The Christmas Knit-Off is a great book to nestle down with this winter but be warned it will make you hungry. Nearly every other page is Sybil wolfing down a piece of cake or full English breakfast, or a roast dinner, or mulled wine and mince pie! In fact I will probably read this again for the food descriptions alone! Plus it got me ready to don the knitware….just as soon as this Indian Summer is over!
My Reading List: