Thursday, 1 October 2015

I completely love this cartoon the Literary Review made of Charlotte Brontë, for my review of Claire Harman's new biography.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Jacqueline Wilson rides in to the rescue (of What Katy Did)

You probably all know how I feel about What Katy Did. So I was thrilled when Jacqueline Wilson gave the book a much-needed, and excellent rewrite. I wrote about it for The Pool, here.

Monday, 17 August 2015

Nelly Dean

I reviewed this for the Independent on Sunday, and I loved it. It's great if you love Wuthering Heights, and it's very good if you hate it too.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Judging the Jewish Quarterly Wingate award

I'm so happy I'll be judging the Jewish Quarterly Wingate award this year. I'm looking forward to diving into a stack of books about Jewish life, ideas and culture. Actually several stacks; we've been told to bring luggage to get them home from our first meeting! This is both thrilling and alarming.

Friday, 31 July 2015


I reviewed Kate Bolick's book Spinster for the Literary Review (the review's not online, sadly). I so wanted to love this book. I'd loved Bolick's original piece about living a single life for the Atlantic. It feels like time to reclaim the word "spinster", and I was longing for a book that would really dig into what spinsterhood means. Sadly this is not that book, and the books I'd still recommend to any woman wanting to think about living a single life are Marjorie Hillis's breezy self-help book Live Alone and Like It, Sylvia Townsend Warner's Lolly Willowes (which is also subversive and very very funny), Stella Gibbons's Cold Comfort Farm (with doesn't quite stick to exploring spinsterhood, but it is a truly wonderful, hilarious book) and Virginia Nicholson's Singled Out, which tells the story of the many women who lost the men they would have married in the First World War and had to find other ways of living their lives. Though they did so for the bleakest of reasons, the energy and variety of their responses to their situations are truly inspiring.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

A Lady and her Husband

I was thrilled to be asked to write about the suffragette and social justice campaigner Amber Reeves's novel A Lady and her Husband for the brilliant Slightly Foxed—it's out now and available here and I'm tearing through it. This is Reeves, with her daughter. It's the only picture I've ever seen of her and her face is turned away, her secrets kept very much to herself. 

In other news, I do like how this review of How to be a Heroine docks a star because I've left out Anne Brontë—a very good point, and as the reviewer says, don't worry! My book on Anne is on its way.