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IMG_0258Earlier this week I took a day off to do some pre-Christmas stuff, meeting a friend for lunch in Covent Garden and then meeting another friend (MargaRita, Queen of Speed, a friend of the Bride’s blog, previously mentioned here) for drinks at the splendid St Pancras Hotel. In between I spent a few hours around Piccadilly, mostly shopping but also finally getting round to doing something I’ve talked about in previous years – visiting the Chris Beetles Gallery to view their annual exhibition of illustration.

The Illustrators: The British Art of Illustration 1800-2014 is a feast for the eyes, exhibiting original works by many of the greats – Edmund Dulac, Arthur Rackham, Heath Robinson, Ronald Searle (those are just some of my favourites) – as well as artists less well known (at least to me). The walls are crammed with these wonderful pieces of art, all for sale. Sadly, much as I would have loved to I couldn’t quite put my hands on the £17,500 for Dulac’s Asenath from 1907, let alone the £250,000 for Rackham’s The Fairies Are Exquisite Dancers from Peter Pan (1906). A girl can dream though.

So I made do with a copy of the exhibition catalogue which is a beautiful thing in itself.

There was also a fantastic exhibition of Quentin Blake illustrations and some original drawings for Paddington, any of which would have looked very nice framed on my study wall.

A lovely way to spend a winter’s afternoon.

18374017What’s it all about?

The Mistletoe Bride and Other Haunting Tales is a collection of ghostly and supernatural stories by Kate Mosse, set mostly in France or Sussex, area of the world that she knows very well and which have featured in her other works.

Why did I want to read it?

Creepy stories are ideal for this time of year. Plus I have a number of her books (not read) and had previously picked up and enjoyed The Winter Ghosts.

What did I think of it?

I really enjoyed this collection of quite gentle stories. They aren’t particularly gruesome and not really frightening, but they are very traditional, often about premonitions or the settling of old scores before a departed person can find peace or slippage into the past when visiting a historical setting (as in the title story). My favourite is probably The Revenant, set in the Fishbourne Marshes in 1955; a mysterious female figure appears to our heroine in the marshes seeking a form of justice for a crime which took place during the war. Very atmospheric.

I particularly enjoyed the stories set in Sussex as that’s the county where the Book God was born and I know enough of it for some of the places to be recognisable. One of the particular pleasures of the book is the author’s note for each story, giving some background on place or inspiration, especially interesting for those stories based on folklore.

I had planned to read a story a day and pace the book out over the run up to Christmas but got through them much more quickly than that, which should say something about the pleasures of reading these well-written tales.

Bride of the Book God

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Scottish, in my fifties, love books but not always able to find the time to read them as much as I would like. I’m based in London and happily married to the Book God.

I also blog at Bride of the Screen God (all about movies and TV) and The Dowager Bride, if you are interested in ramblings about stuff of little consequence

If you would like to get in touch you can contact me at brideofthebookgod (at) btinternet (dot) com.

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