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, we have crime and historical fiction writer Maureen Myant, whose debut crime novel The Confession was published in early November. I’ve read it – it’s a cracker!
Over to Maureen:
Home at Grasmere, by Dorothy Wordsworth
I have never been a particular fan of Wordsworth’s poetry and on a visit to Dove Cottage I eschewed his volumes of poetry and instead bought a copy of his sister’s diary. I was immediately hooked. William apparently used to read Dorothy’s diary for inspiration and it is fascinating to see how her notes are transformed into his poetry. I much prefer her writing. Like any decent journal this gives an insight into the daily life of the writer and the society of its time. The poverty around them is astounding and she writes with compassion about the families she meets, forced to wander the country in search of work. Daily life is hard for her too; she had to walk seven miles to Keswick for provisions and she complains bitterly of the cold in winter. And of course there are her infamous teeth! She ended up with a set of wooden teeth but before that she suffered terribly from toothache. The best writing sheds light on the human experience and Home at Grasmere certainly does that.
Anne of Green Gables series, by L.M. Montgomery
I was forced to read Anne of Green Gables when I was ten and the local library no longer had any Enid Blyton books that I hadn’t already read. My mother recommended it to me and told me to persevere when I moaned that nothing was happening in it. I’m glad I did because Anne Shirley is like an old friend to me. The characters that L. M. Montgomery writes about are vivid and immediately recognisable types and there is so much gentle humour in the stories. I’ve read and reread the whole series several times. I cried when Anne lost her first baby, rejoiced when her children were born and despaired when her beloved, gentle son, Walter died during the first world war. In truth, they are too religious for me now but I still find them charming.
Thank you, Maureen! The ‘Anne’ books are favourites of mine too, and I remember seeing a TV adaptation when I was a child, too.
Maureen’s new release The Confession is set in Glasgow, so I really enjoyed being able to picture her characters as they strode around some of the places I used to visit. Here’s the blurb:
A house on a quiet street on the southside of Glasgow. Neat, terraced homes with manicured lawns and pruned trees. Not the sort of place that reeks of decay or where dead bluebottles pile up on a windowsill.
When the police break in, there’s a surprise in store for them. They find Julie Campbell’s decaying body at her desk, her laptop open beside her. She’s a well-liked, respectable woman. On the laptop is a confession – to five murders. There’s one major problem though – only one of the victims she names is actually dead.
DI Mark Nicholson is persuaded by his boss DCI Alex Scrimgeour that the confession is a fantasy, and to drop the case, but Mark senses there’s more to it than meets the eye. As he delves further, the darkest of secrets are revealed, and everyone around him is dragged into a vortex of fear, danger and murder. No one is beyond suspicion as The Confession becomes a murderous reality.
Maureen Myant is the author of two novels, The Search which is set in wartime Czechoslovakia, Poland and Germany and The Confession, a psychological crime story set in present day Glasgow. She lives in Glasgow with her husband and has three adult children and six grandchildren.
I’ll just add here that I’ve read and thoroughly enjoyed The Search too. I always love books with characters you care about, and this is certainly one of those.
This was the last Classic Comfort guest post – big thanks to everyone who’s contributed over the past two years. We’ll be back with a new series next year!