Why I Really Like This Book
These are podcasts about forgotten fiction, for curious readers, and for anyone who likes old books. Sometimes they're stories, sometimes they're not. Most of the authors write in English; and sometimes they don't. But all the books I talk about, I really really like. I hope you will too.
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My name is Kate Macdonald: I'm an English lecturer, and a lifelong browser in second-hand bookshops. I post weekly ten-minute podcasts on a Friday, on the books I really like which I think deserve new readers. You can find out lots more at the Facebook page here, and get these podcasts weekly by subscribing on the iTunes link above.

The music for the podcast intro is by The Tribe Band. Lucy Marsh did the drawing and Matthias Opsomer lettered it. Patrick Belk and Martin Fowler hold my tech safety net.

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Questions? Send me a message by mailing me at kate [dot] brussels [at] yahoo [dot] com.

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Undine Spragg climbs relentlessly upwards through American society in Edith Wharton's novel The Custom of the Country, marrying disastrously (for others), abandoning friends and useful people from back home in her dizzying ascent - until things go wrong and she needs the advice of those who have worked harder and longer, and paid more attention than she has to their life's work of learning to be the right kind of lady in turn-of-the-century New York society. For those interested in slippery slopes.

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Remember when Meg in Louisa May Alcott's Little Women visits Vanity Fair, and has a sinfully happy time flirting at parties? An Old-Fashioned Girl inhabits that world, where Fanny Shaw shows her country mouse friend Polly Milton how to live the high life, with dances and ices and lots of boys. These girls are only 14 in 1870s Boston: things get so much more complicated when they grow up and learn what life is about. For Polly life is about work: earning her own living as a happy independent music teacher, while Fanny mopes at home, bored and depressed because Polly's busy example is drawing the attention of the man she loves. This is a novel about how work will cure all ills and make you a better person. For procrastinators everywhere.

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It's the 1970s in the deep south of the USA, and Fay McKelva is shaking her aged husband because he just will not make an effort to get out of his hospital bed and get well. She is outraged when he dies from the sudden interference with his blood pressure, but she's also quite pleased because she can now sell that awful house in Mount Salus, Mississippi, and go off and do something with her life. Her step-daughter Laurel brings her father home for his funeral, and wanders about her childhood home not quite believing that she can't stop it being sold by the selfish widow. Secrets emerge, Texas invades, and Fay flings herself publicly onto her husband's coffin in funeral drama. For those who prefer their comportment to be southern, rather than Texan.

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Storm Jameson's gripping novel The Hidden River drowns us in French correct behaviour, French honour and a family tragedy from the Second World War. Marie Regnier is the avenging angel of terror and implacable hate who refuses to allow any bygones or forgiveness in the reconstruction of family life, because her son was betrayed to the Gestapo, and she wants to know who condemned him to torture and death. For those who are left to clean up when the visitors have gone.

Direct download: Storm_Jameson_and_The_Hidden_River.mp3
Category:strong women -- posted at: 1:30am CET
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