Popular fiction of the past has fascinated me since I was a child.
This has certainly intensified since I helped put together the 50th Anniversary Memoir of the Romantic Novelists’ Association. And many of those I have read since have, indeed, been romantic.
But the itch to read over the shoulder of my forebears was already there. It covered just about every genre, too.
I had access to three sets of bookshelves when I was a child. My parents, marrying late, also united their reading matter.
My father brought a complete set of Dickens, H G Wells and Wisden to the marriage; my mother a rather wider selection, including Gone With the Wind and golden age mysteries. The extended family offered encyclopaedias, a lot of household tips (which I loved) and gloomily improving childhood literature, like The Water Babies, which I detested. Continue reading