the literary lounge

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“I was sure I saw that knife go into you. The villain had to tug to retrieve it. But it was that.” She looked down and made a small exclamation. “It’s been cut.” She opened the reticule, examing the contents and took out a small, leather-bound book. She held it up so that he could … Continue readings

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  ‘No matter where I lived, I read. I devoured whatever I could get my hands on,’ Anne Gracie says.   An award-winning historical-romance writer, Anne was born into a family of ‘chalkies’ (‘teachers’ in Aussie slang), who moved around a lot when Anne was a children. She spent a lot of time outside playing … Continue readings

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  Master of Hammer, Witchfinder General and the weak-chinned lover of the female protagonist in Otto Preminger’s original and magnificent film noir Laura (1944), actor Vincent Price informs our cultural consciousness. But how many of us know that Price was the Master Chef of his time? A bon vivant and gourmand, Price not only loved … Continue readings

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New Orleans-born Elizabeth Hoyt is a best-selling New York Times novelist. The author of 15 historical and 2 contemporary romances (the latter as Julia Harper), she recently published Duke of Midnight, the sixth book in the acclaimed ‘Maiden Lane’ series, set in 18th-century London. Elizabeth was brought up in St Pauls, Minnesota, and travelled extensively … Continue readings

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Mary Jo Putney is a leading historical-romance writer. The recipient of many awards, ‘MJP’, as she is known affectionately to her fans, won the prestigious RWA Nora Roberts’ Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013. Born in Upstate New York, Mary Jo developed a love of reading at an early age. Her favourite authors included Georgette Heyer, … Continue readings

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  New Zealand-born Len Lye was an experimental animator and sculptor. He is known primarily for a series of innovative films produced in the 1930s and 40s, the earlier while working with John Grierson’s much acclaimed GPO Film Unit. A Colour Box (1935) was particularly influential – wonderful Norman McLaren took up animation full time … Continue readings

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  Night Mail, the GPO Film Unit’s 1936 documentary, seemingly had everything going for it from the start – from its directors Harry Watt and Basil Wright, narrators John Grierson and Stuart Legg to the poem that WH Auden wrote especially for it and the music score composed by a 23-year-old Benjamin Britten. The GPO … Continue readings

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  I love old Penguin books. I have an abiding passion for them: I love the look of them, the feel of them, the size of them – and, of course, most of all I love the authors Penguin, in particular under Allen Lane, chose to publish. It’s thus no surprise that my first ‘Book … Continue readings

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  The Bodley Head found itself, at the beginning of the week, sold out of ‘Penguins’, 150,000 having been sold out in four days.… — The Bookseller, 8 August 1935, a week after Penguin’s launch   In the early 1930s, Allen Lane, then director of The Bodley Head publishers, was returning from a weekend stay … Continue readings

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This review is dedicated to Elizabeth Hoyt’s new title, Duke of Midnight, the sixth and – in my opinion – best of the ‘Maiden Lane’ books. It features protagonists, Maximus, Duke of Wakefield by day, Ghost of St Giles at night, and Artemis Greaves, a lady’s companion, struggling to survive, while endeavouring to free her … Continue readings

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In a time of quite frequently over-complicated plots, with subplots and substrands in hundreds of thousands of words, it’s refreshing to read a good old-fashioned feel-good romance, in which girl meets boy, girl likes boy, boy likes girl – and they live happy ever after. A garish bridesmaid dress, a Bridezilla and a plane, train … Continue readings