England on My Mind

I’ve read a curious string of books lately – though I didn’t plan it this way, it turns out they all take place in Yorkshire.

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield – an A+ novel set in early-to-mid-20th century Yorkshire. It’s about a pair of twins growing up in a dysfunctional household. It’s also a ghost story, of sorts. Highly recommended!


Emily’s Ghost by Denise Giardina – a retelling of a few years of Emily Bronte’s life at her home in Yorkshire in the 1830s and early 1840s. It’s fiction, and I believe the author may be a bit hard on Charlotte Bronte, but the book also got me curious about other aspects of the Brontes’ lives. I mourned all over again for the book that Emily left behind when she died from consumption, and which Charlotte burned. About all we know about it, is it was titled Heaven and Earth and that Emily thought it was better than Wuthering Heights.

emily's ghost

At the same time I checked out Emily’s Ghost at the library, I ran across an old favorite, so I checked it out and brought it home, too–The Hound of the Baskervilles, by Arthur Conan Doyle. It’s a great one!

OK, OK!  The novel does not take place in Yorkshire. It actually takes place in Devonshire, which is in the southwest part of England, not even next to Yorkshire. But the moors in this book so remind me of the heath in the Bronte books, that as an American from the midwest I lump them into the same category. Come on, does Baskerville Hall (below) remind you of a

Bronte novel, or what? baskerville hall

Incidentally, something else I learned while checking out this book, is that Arthur Conan Doyle’s books are in the library under “D,” not “C.” So why do people always refer to him as “Conan Doyle”? Are you a C or a D, sir?


Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

I have also just read The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters. This story takes place in Yorkshire, really (although Waters is an American, gasp!). I can’t say much about the plot because I don’t want to give anything away, but like The Thirteenth Tale, it’s a sort of ghost story. little 

If you liked Wuthering Heights or Jane Eyre, you’ll like The Little Stranger (and it’s less gothic, stylistically, so easier to read).

My old roommate Carol once said to me, in a letter, “My books are my friends.” I, too, can hardly wait to get home at night to my books. And my cats.



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