The idea behind the Classic Comfort posts is that each featured writer chooses a favourite title from the classics – we’ll define ‘classic’ as pre-1940 – and a favourite comfort read, a book they always return to, for whatever reasons. As third book in each post, we’ll have one by the writer.
This week, it’s Helen Pryke, who writes standalone psychological suspense as well as her Healer’s saga, a series of historical/fantasy women’s fiction reads set in Italy where she lives. I’ve read them all and I can’t wait for the next one!
Over to Helen:
Watership Down by Richard Adams
When I was little, I loved the idea of talking animals, or being part of an animal’s world and seeing how it thought and lived. Showing life from a rabbit’s point of view, Watership Down, for me, was an incredible book that I read over and over again. The legends that Adams created, the idea of a group of rabbits setting out in search of a new warren, the hardships they faced, and yes, even the tragic deaths, held me enthralled throughout. Each time I read it I discover something new, even all these years later.
The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis
I don’t remember the first time I read The Magician’s Nephew, but I was very young, probably seven or eight. I was fascinated by the world that C.S. Lewis created, from the attics that linked between houses, to the wood between the worlds with its wondrous pools among the silent trees, to the creation of Narnia and all its creatures. I can still vividly recall each scene, and just seeing the cover brings back the characters, as if they were old friends. The whole series sparked my imagination and my love for reading.
Thank you, Helen! I love the Narnia books too, and Watership Down was one of the first home readers I was given at secondary school, so I have happy memories of both these books too – though I wasn’t so keen on the film version of Watership Down.
The Healer’s Secret is the first in Helen’s series, and it was one of those books where I sat down to read and didn’t get up again for hours. Here’s the blurb:
Jennifer’s life isn’t going as she planned. Fired from her job and on the brink of divorce, her only salvation lies at the bottom of a wine bottle. When her mother insists she get away from everything, she reluctantly agrees to explore her Italian roots in Tuscany.
Staying in her family’s centuries-old cottage, she becomes embroiled in a mysterious tragedy involving her great-grandmother. As she delves further into her ancestors’ history, she discovers there is more to her heritage than meets the eye.
Ghosts from the past could give Jennifer something she thought she’d never have: a future. But that depends on whether she can resist temptation and avoid slipping back into her old ways.
Will she be able to conquer her inner demons and discover the healer’s secret?
Helen Pryke is a British author who has been living in the north of Italy for almost 30 years, learning everything about Italians, their culture, and their way of life. She now considers herself more Italian than British, even though she has never lost her British accent. Addicted to coffee and chocolate, she has also developed a passion for good food, having married an Italian who is a wonderful cook!
As well as writing suspense novels, Helen also writes emotional women’s fiction set in Italy that deals with the difficult subject of abuse in a sensitive way.
She also writes middle-grade fiction under the pen name, Julia E. Clements.
I’ll leave you with the four books published so far in the Healer’s saga – aren’t the cover images lovely? The books are available individually and also as a kindle boxset. Click HERE to see The Healer’s Secret on Amazon.
Next month, we’re having rom-com and suspense writer Sue Shepherd with her choice of books.