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Book Emily Bronte The Complete Poems, Penguin Classics on Love, Loss and Sorrow

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Emily Jane Bronte did not write her poems for publication. They contained her private thoughts and emotions intended for herself alone. Charlotte discovered the poems and persuaded her to submit them for publication, in a book containing the work of all three Bronte sisters, using the male pseudonyms of Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell.
 
Her poems make painful reading, reflecting the love, loss and sorrow she experienced in her young life. In one poem, Emily decides that life has passed her by and says she has no friends. “As friendless after eighteen years, As lone as on my natal day” Sadly her two elder sisters Maria and Elizabeth lay buried in the graveyard, which her bedroom overlooked.
 
They had died from tuberculosis after being sent away to school. Her mother was also buried there. Emily said that she hid these sad feelings well “With that sweet look and lively tone and bright eye shining all the day, They could not guess at midnight lone, How she would weep the time away.”
Emily never wanted to leave home and had to return from Belgium, where she went for tuition with Charlotte, due to homesickness. At the Rectory she busied herself with helping the family servant Tabby with housework, and walking on the Moors with her dog Keeper. Secretly there were the poems she was writing, which although she couldn’t know it, secured her a place in English Literature.
 
This was even before the publication of her novel Wuthering Heights in 1847. The poems were published in 1846, three years before her death, at the age of thirty in 1848.
Her love of the moors and her home is expressed in her poetry “The Bluebell is the sweetest flower, That waves in summer air” and But what on earth is half so dear, So longed for as the hearth of home”
 
Despite these deep attachments, Emily’s poems have dark undertones. She says “Sleep brings no rest to me, The shadows of the dead, My waking eyes may never see, Surround my bed” In the poem “The Philosopher” she longs for a sign  “Had I but seen his glorious eye ONCE light the clouds that wilder me, I ne’re had raised this cowards cry, To cease to think and cease to be” At this point Emily may have had suicidal ideation. She certainly longs for death to end her hidden sufferings and join the loved ones, who are buried, often deep in snow covered graves in the churchyard. Thankfully in the poem Remembrance, Emily seems to turn a corner and decides to go on with life, despite their loss, but still fears that loving memories will make life seem empty.  In the poem “No coward soul is mine” Emily resolutely declares her faith.
 
My own favourite poem is one in which Emily celebrates the power of memory:-
 
All hushed and still within the house
Without – all wind and driving rain
But something whispers to my mind
Through rain and through the wailing wind
Never Again
Never Again? Why not again? 
Memory has power 
As real as thine.
 

In the nineteen sixties I worked in London stores. Worked as an Insurance Clerk in the City of London during the nineteen seventies. Divorced in the nineteen nineties. Now I am a retired Civil Servant, managing home and garden and escaping onto social media whenever possible.

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Books

Book Review: All for You by Louise Jensen

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Louise Jensen is by now a fairly well-known author in the psychological thriller/domestic noir thriller genre but I think this was her first book I read. It is about a family of four, Ellen the mother an orthopaedic surgeon who is currently not working, Aidan the father a vet and the two boys Connor and Kieron. Kieron has some rare possibly terminal disease while Connor is a sensitive 17 years old. In the picture, there are also two of Connor’s good friends: Ryan and Tyler. We know that something happened to Connor’s girlfriend Hailey’s but we don’t know what. First Tyler then Ryan disappear and everyone fears that Connor might be the next as the three were always together and they were together the night something happened to Hailey.

Connor disappears as well but it is not what it seems. It’s a complex thriller with several punchy twists, I couldn’t work out who could be the kidnapper and the ending was genuinely surprising although a bit far fetched and very dark. You can tell that Jensen is a bit more accomplished in writing thrilling plots than other authors. Overall it took me a while to get into this book but then I was engrossed in it and read it late at night. I would recommend it to anyone who likes a good mystery with lots of family secrets. I was given a free copy of this book by NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

This book will be out in October but you can pre-order it now. 

All For You: don’t miss the next thrilling and shocking psychological thriller from best selling author of The Date and The Sister in 2021!
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Jensen, Louise (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 384 Pages - 10/28/2021 (Publication Date) - HQ (Publisher)

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Keeping Up Appearances; from Hyacinth Bucket to Eleanor Rigby

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Keeping Up Appearances was a British sitcom that ran on BBC television from 1990 – 1995. It featured a woman called Hyacinth Bucket, which she insisted was pronounced Bouquet. The humour lay in watching her attempts at social climbing. She lived to impress her unfortunate neighbours, who tried to avoid her! 
Coincidentally, at that time, I was in contact with relatives, who erroneously insisted on a French pronunciation of their surname, and were oblivious to their ridiculous behaviour.
 
While the programme was enjoyed for its comedic effect, some people in real life struggle to keep up appearances and it is no laughing matter. People who have social status, such as by being a home owner, but lack actual income, are said to be in genteel poverty. This leads to reduced  spending and failing to replace things that are broken. By keeping up appearances, others are not aware of the true state of affairs.
 
 
The March family in the novel Little Women, by Louisa M Alcott, are an example of genteel poverty. They gave up their Christmas dinner to take to a family, who were in absolute poverty. Today, people who have very little themselves, may leave an item to be collected for the food bank, on their way out of the supermarket.
 
Another sort of keeping up appearances, is the disguising of emotions. This may extend to hiding actual physical or mental abuse. Victims of controlling behaviour may show no sign to the outside world, suffering at home in silence. 
 
In “Eleanor Rigby”, the song by Paul McCartney, the woman disguises her loneliness by appearing cheerful, wearing a face that she keeps in a jar by the door, as the song says. She is an example of all the lonely people,  who keep up appearances.
 
 Footnote : As a tribute to the Beatles, Tommy Steele commissioned a statue of Eleanor Rigby, (a fictitious person, although the name is found in a Liverpool graveyard) It is placed not far from the site of the club, the Cavern, where the Beatles first performed.
Bestseller No. 1
Little Women
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh (Actors)
  • Greta Gerwig (Director) - Amy Pascal (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)
SaleBestseller No. 2
Little Women: Louisa May Alcott (The Penguin English Library)
  • Alcott, Louisa May (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 576 Pages - 06/07/2018 (Publication Date) - Penguin Classics (Publisher)

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Book Review: All Her Fault by Andrea Mara

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I have read many psychological thrillers but this was something else. Many books say they have unpredictable twists but very few deliver on that promise. This one does. It all starts when Marissa Irvine goes to collect her kid Milo from a playdate. But at that address, no one knows the kid or the family that was supposed to live there. What follows is 7 days of police search for the four-year-old boy, quite quickly it becomes obvious that he was taken by the nanny of the kid he was meant to play with. But the question is why? Why would a young woman kidnap a little boy?

 

The plot was quite watertight and when the twist arrived, it made sense. The characters were interesting and everyone was a bit suspicious, But to understand this crime, we need to know the motive and I can’t say much more without spoiling the book. If you like psychological thrillers, not scary ones but well thought out, this book is for you. I was given a copy by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

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