I'm in love with this shot by @bogbilleder of the Women Writers Series from the British Library!
This is a curated collection of forgotten works by early to mid-century women writers highlighting fiction from the 1910s to the 1960s, offering escapism, popular appeal and plenty of period detail to amuse, surprise, and inform. Each work sees fictional heroines challenge the attitudes of their time and highlight women’s experience inside and outside the home.
For inclusion in the series, the book had to be by a woman, completely out of print, and have something interesting to say about women’s lives in the period.
Not only do we love the concept behind this series but would ya look at those covers! We currently have copies of My Husband Simon in stock, but you can check out the rest of the series below!
My Husband Simon explores the different echelons of the increasingly self-conscious middle class and the ways in which the tensions and nuances of vocabulary, dress, occupation, politics, taste and, ultimately, the literary world contribute to the incompatibility of a marriage.
Published in 1931 in the immediate aftermath of D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover controversy, Mollie Panter-Downes’s book tells the story of the married life of Nevis Falconer, a young woman novelist, and Simon Quinn. Temperamentally unsuited, they are only kept together by a mutual physical attraction, in spite of innumerable quarrels. They live this superficial existence for three years, until one day Nevis meets Marcus Chard, her American publisher, who has just arrived in London. Soon friendship develops into love. Inevitably the problem faces her. Wife or mistress? Nevis finds herself caught in a whirl of circumstances over which she has no control.
My Husband Simon tells the story of the married life of Nevis Falconer, a young woman novelist, and Simon Quinn. Temperamentally unsuited, they are only kept together by a mutual physical attraction, in spite of innumerable quarrels. They live this superficial existence for three years, until one day Nevis meets Marcus Chard, her American publisher, who has just arrived in London.
‘You don’t mean you’re going to divorce him?’ Miss Spanner said with horror.
A sophisticated, emotive novel, Chatterton Square concerns the complex web of relationships between two neighboring families, the Blacketts and the Frasers.
“May I ask your daughter’s age?”
“Nan is thirty-three.”
“A dangerous age.”
Rose Macaulay takes a lively and perceptive look at three generations of women within the same family and the ‘dangers’ faced at each of those stages in life.
‘There came a moment, she imagined, in the lives of most unmarried daughters, and perhaps in other people’s too, when they must either bolt or go permanently under.’
Since her mother’s death Jennifer has devoted years of her life to her father, managing the family home and acting as his secretary.
The doomed mutual attraction of a middle-aged widow and her new son-in-law, who is much closer to her own age than her daughter’s, forms the central drama in this social comedy with tragic overtones. Joanna Malling lost her husband in the first year of their marriage. At the age of 21, she was left with a baby daughter to raise alone.
‘Sometimes I think that was the happiest day of my life, those hours of heat and silence and colour, along with David high up on the moor. But then I remember that I have said that of many other days, so I cannot be sure.’
A female narrator looks back on her childhood in a coming-of-age novel set before the First World War.
When her bohemian life in Paris falls flat at the beginning of the First World War, Sally Lunton returns to the care of her guardian in Little Crampton to find a husband. With some encouragement from the local busybody, she makes a play for Mr. Bingley, the bank manager, although she has a rival in Mrs. Dalton, a widow with a young daughter to raise.
“I shall turn this into a tea-house, with lunches if requested, and shall serve pleasant meals in the orchard,” announced David, “and with my penchant for cooking I ought to make a fortune.”
“Oh dear!” said Germayne.
David Tompkins thinks it is a splendid idea to open a tea garden at his Kentish cottage.
Miss Pauline Marchrose arrives at the Commercial and Technical College of South-West England as the new Lady Superintendent. But Lady Edna Rossiter, the wife of the college director, Sir Julian, recognizes her name as the woman who broke off an engagement with her cousin.
The Tree of Heaven follows the fortunes of the Harrison family as the children grow up in the shadow of the First World War and Dorothy’s brothers go off, one by one, to the trenches, while she becomes involved with the suffrage movement, and later joins a version of the Women’s Social and Political Union.
‘There was no one in the room. Blinds and curtains were closed; the light of the skies, if any, was shut out. … Only the fire was alive, consuming its life—for what? Then the door opened and as Claudia came with hurried steps into the fire’s glow, two open letters in her hand, the telephone began ringing.