Early last year, I learned of the Bloomsbury Group from the blogosphere. Bloomsbury Publishing had decided to bring back into print a number of early twentieth century books that they regarded as "lost novels" and that were "recommended by readers for readers, being brought back into print for a new audience". They asked friends, colleagues, authors and book bloggers for suggestions of favourite books that could be revived. The result was a release of a total of six books in 2009 (staggered from July to November) with charming silhouette pictures against pleasing pastel-shaded covers, creating a strong brand and making a literary impact. These books are beautiful to look at, to hold and to read and sometimes I just want to caress them. The quality is that good and pleasing to the eye inside and out, especially my Henrietta which boasts delightful sketches by the author.
I purchased two at the time, Henrietta's War by Joyce Dennys and Mrs Tim of the Regiment by D. E. Stevenson, after reading about these on the blogosphere. I became acquainted with
D. E. Stevenson via the blogosphere's praise of the sublime Persephone Booksand after falling for the premise of Miss Buncle's Book. Thanks to Bloomsbury Publishing, I discovered Stevenson's Mrs Tim and, as with Miss Buncle, looked for and found that sequels were written! It amazed me that such charming books have been forgotten but thanks to publishers such as Persephone and now Bloomsbury, these forgotten classics are being appreciated by a new generation.
Believe it or not, I have read neither of the two novels as I know (based on respected bloggers' reviews) that these two are going to be wonderful reads and I am trying to savour them. Henrietta is waiting to be read very soon and after snooping around Amazon a few days ago, I discovered that the sequel is to be published as well!
According to Amazon UK, there are four lovely Bloomsbury Group novels set to be published this July. The Bloomsbury Group page still shows the previous six novels but you can find information on the individual additions under the search button on their site. They sport the same beautiful silhouette images but on a bolder colour cover, with the same recognisable branding of the Bloomsbury Group novels.
I am quite excited by these new novels as three of the four authors are favourites of mine. I read Paul Gallico's Mrs Harris Goes to Pariswhen I was in high school and have fond memories of that novel. I will love reading it again and will have the added bonus of reading Mrs Haris Goes to New York, which is also included in this edition.
Even more exciting is the prospect of an E. F. Benson novel! I am a great fan of the Mapp and Lucia series as well as his wonderfully delicious Secret Lives. I have Mrs Ames in a Hogarth imprint but am seduced by the Bloomsbury edition!
As mentioned above , Henrietta returns in Henrietta Sees it Through and I know that quite a few bloggers (myself included) will be pleased that Bloomsbury have decided to publish this sequel so soon after resurrecting the first book.
Lastly, Let's Kill Uncle, is by an author who is new to me... so another new discovery! The plot sounds a little macabre but Bloomsbury promises that it's "playful, dark and witty... a surprising tale of two ordinary children who conspire to execute an extraordinary murder – and get away with it". I'm intrigued.
I think I'll be ordering all four books come July, as they are too much of a temptation. Oh the agony of waiting...