Norah Lofts Message Board
djo posts on 12/24/2008 12:09:49 AM
Cassie, I know I'm new on this board, but I don't think you were wrong to ask a question. I am an avid fan of NL, and reading this board has set me off on her books again. I'm not sure how many I have (20-30). Since my last post I've read Lovers All Untrue and am now reading The Town House. The first time I read Lovers All Untrue I thought I hated that book. What I hated was the father, the life those poor girls led, the dangling of future happiness ripped away. NL has a talent for portraying people, times and beliefs. She takes you right there and gives you some of the minutae of the feelings and day-to-day living of those long-past times. What makes NL books even better is her ability to have you holding your breath as a character misses an opportunity by a day or has a life-changing experience by sheer chance - stuff like that. Those little details of life and how the characters make their decisions (and how different our choices would be, but then we know all the details)- that's what makes her books so readable. I have to leave it a year or more before re-reading a book, once I start on NL books I usually read my complete collection and go hunting for more. In the meantime I read other books and I'm sure everyone else does too. I guess it's not good form to discuss what else we read on this site!! Seems a bit improper perhaps! My big problem is sourcing books now. I'm English and moved to America last year. I would happily spend hours trawling through second-hand bookshops in England, so my library is pretty obscure and tatty. I haven't had a chance to do the same here yet (I have two young daughters to look after), so I have been re-reading a lot of my old books (must have about 400), when I have time. In my opinion, if someone loves NL as much as I do, I would certainly check out any other author they recommended ... but perhaps on another site! Perhaps I will email you after Christmas and we can swap recommendations.
Cassie posts on 12/23/2008 4:40:37 PM
I should not have posted it I guess, I didn't mean to promote another site... I didn't realize until afterwards that it probably wasn't something that Allreaders would like. I just thought it would be interesting to see what else you all are reading besides NL. I would love to have some contact information for you guys. My email is thepettysbc at aol dot com
Karen posts on 12/23/2008 1:58:49 PM
No, I hadn't heard of it before.
Cassie posts on 12/23/2008 12:04:38 PM
Do any of you have accounts on Goodreads.com?
Rita posts on 12/18/2008 10:07:49 AM
Dead March in Three Keys, originally published under the name Peter Curtis, is also the same book as Bride of Moat House. And I think it had another title, also but can't remember.
Anonymous posts on 12/17/2008 10:09:54 PM
What a lovely rich lot of posts. I'm re-reading How Far to Bethlehem too - I guess it's the season. I love it to pieces, one of my very favourites and one of NL's most ambitious I think. I haven't got to the part where the Magi /travellers get set upon and the child - Barabbas , if my memory serves me correctly? seeks to avenge the death of his father revenge. I wouldn't call him a young hoodlum though, as I think I have read here somewhere , but a archetype of Revenge.
It was I ((me?) I never know that one) who brought up the notion - not of incest per se- but the specific instance of a girl being in love with a man who , unknown to her, is her half brother. Philosophically I disagree with NL's notion that men, being the choosers are somehow more sensitive to the wrongness of it. The actual facts of in-family rape/incest would certainly not bear that out . Anyway, be that as it may, I really enjoyed Mary's analysis of the question, referring us to classical and medieval literary figures. Morgause( or Morgan herself depending on sources) and Arthur, of course, what an interesting comparison.
djo, what other NL's do you think we are missing for material for discussion ? Bring them on!
Rita, yes, Colin Lowrie is Out of This Nettle. Another great book with big themes and scope isn't it?
There's a chronology of NL's books at at a uk.com site called fantasticfiction
If literally correct,she wrote 6 books in 1968! Or maybe she had them in the pipeline and they all got published that year I dunno. Out of This Nettle was several novels into her oeuvre.
I have two of her Peter Curtis novels, You're Best Alone and Dead March in Three Keys. Did they have alternative titles? Mine are published by Corgi in the UK, tho I bought them here in Australia.
Mary posts on 12/17/2008 9:14:53 PM
I loved How Far to Bwethlehem! I eve=n read parts of it as meditations at a Sunday Compline service at my church in two successive Decembers. One slight deviation from Scripture, which I especially liked, was that NL made Joseph decide to marry Mary anyway BEFORE the angel appeared to him in a dream. Although that's not the way the Bible tells it, it seems appropriate and in keeping. Another of my favorite incidents in that book is the Wise Men's encounter with the little hoodlum as they're nearing their destination.
On the subject of incest, it may be worth noting that in ancient or Dark Age literature it's usually the woman who instigates it. Of course in some cases both members of the couple are equally unaware of their relationship (Oedipus and Jocasta, Thyestes and Pelopeia, Helgi and Yrsa), but in others (Cinyrus/Theias and Smyrna/Myrrha, Signy and Sigmund, Margawse and Arthur), the woman knows full well what she's doing, while her father or brother knows only that he's indulging with a woman to whom he isn't married. See a slight connection to Jamie's reluctance to touch Sorrel? It seemd to me, too, that Josiana loved Walter more than he loved her. As for Henry and Joanna, when he came home to his cold, bleak house to find her cooking dinner, I couldn't help wondering what real harm would be done if they unknowingly married. Cuirious what NL let her characters get away with and what she didn't!
On another subject, I recently read Walk Into My Parlour for the first time. Evidently it was never published in the US. Does anyone know of any other such? (I don't remember seeing Requiem For Idols in any bookstore over here, but I was lucky enough to find a copy in England years ago.)
Rita posts on 12/17/2008 8:17:45 PM
What I love best about How Far to Bethlehem is that what the bible states as true, NL accepts and does not vary in this book, but then fleshes out what seemed reasonable to her as to what happened that the Bible does not tell us.
As a "born-again believer", I appreciate this. To my knowledge, she wrote only two books based on stories in the bible. She wrote "Esther", based on the book of the same name in the OT. NL tells this story also the way I think it must have happened.
djo posts on 12/8/2008 11:33:22 PM
I was given my first NL book when I was seven years old. It was The Story of Maude Reed, unfortunately I don't have it any more. Obviously written for children, it was an expansion of Maude's early years.
Many years later, when I was in my 20's, I chanced upon Gad's Hall and The Haunting of Gad's Hall at a second hand book shop. I have collected NL books every since. I love her books.
I've read thru most of the other posts and find it interesting that so few of her books provoke so much of an exchange of views. This is not meant as a criticism, just an observation. She wrote so many good books, it's hard to talk about them all. Like everyone else, I love the way she puts the characters in more than one book.
I'm currently reading one of my favourites of NL. I read it every Christmas - How Far to Bethlehem? I know a few vicars and devout Christians who also love it, although they didn't initially like the idea of the book's content.
Have any of you read this one? I'd love to hear some other views on it.
Rita posts on 12/8/2008 2:11:45 PM
Sometime ago the idea was brought up about incest in NL's books, and it seemed that the men were bothered more about it than the women. I was just re-reading The Brittle Glass, and in this book, NL explains it as follows:
the man as chooser, is more attuned and sensitive and the female does not possess this quality. Don't know if I agree but that is how she explained Jaime's revulsion of Sorrel, when she was in love with him, and unknown to either, the had the same father. She,
legit and he not. That's another good book. In fact everything she wrote was good. But can someone answer this:
was "Out of This Nettle" her first novel? It is so very grim. I think Colin Lowrie is the same book under another title.
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