Archives for posts with tag: Ruth

Today, as most Fridays, I bring you a guest author. It is time for another classic, a female Victorian writer who became quite popular during her life time and recently, thanks to TV adaptations, has regained many followers. Elizabeth Gaskell.

Cover of "Cranford (Nonsuch Classics)"

Cover of Cranford (Nonsuch Classics)

There is plenty of information about her and I leave you some links to both her life and works, to free versions of her novels and stories, and also some links to adaptations of her work to TV. I love Cranford that I think is one of these gems that the BBC can produce every so often (many are period pieces, but not all, and I also love their adaptation/modernisation of Sherlock Holmes…that makes me think, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle should be on my list of guest for the future…). If you haven’t watched it and can get hold of it…do. And let me know what you think.

Before I’ll share a brief biographical note with you but do check the links for much more detailed information.

gaskell

Biography:

Elizabeth Stevenson was born in London on 29 September 1810, the daughter of a Unitarian minister. Her mother died when she was only 13 months old and her father sent her to live with her aunt, Hannah, who lived in Knutsford in Cheshire. Her father remarried but she spent little time with him and his new family. Her brother, who joined the Merchant Navy, died when she was 18 and her father died shortly after.

She spent some time in Newcastle but would usually go back to Knutsford (that was her inspiration for Cranford). In 1832, she married William Gaskell, also a Unitarian minister, and they settled in the industrial city of Manchester. She helped her husband with his welfare work and took special interest in helping the poor and destitute in the rapidly developing industrial city.

wgaskell                                                                                                    William Gaskell, her husband

Her first child, a girl, was a still born, and following the birth of her second child, marked by her loss, she started keeping a diary of the development of her children. She had a son William, but he died of scarlet fever. She was very affected by it, and her husband suggested that she could take up writing a full-length novel to try and distract herself. Her first novel, ‘Mary Barton’, was published anonymously in 1848. It was an immediate success, winning the praise of Charles Dickens and Thomas Carlyle. It discussed the life of the poor in Manchester and it showed a good eye for detail and local customs and dialogue. It was the first of her ‘industrial’ works.

Dickens invited her to contribute to his magazine, ‘Household Words’, where her next major work, ‘Cranford’, appeared in 1853, in installments. Although he published a number of her works, including short stories and ‘North and South’ (published in 1854), they had major disagreements, particularly due to the length of her novels, and he unwillingness to follow his editorial advice. I’ve read in several of her biographies that he said if he had been her husband he would have beaten her up. Gaskell’s work brought her many friends, including the novelist Charlotte Brontë who visited her often. When Charlotte died in 1855, her father, Patrick Brontë, asked Gaskell to write her biography. The ‘Life of Charlotte Brontë’ (1857)  made her even more popular although some critics queried the amount of personal detail included.

She spent time in the South, traveled abroad with her daughters, and had just bought a new house when she had a massive heart attack in October 1865, dying on 12 November 1865, leaving her longest work, ‘Wives and Daughters’ incomplete.

Home to Elizabeth Gaskell, novelist and biogra...

Home to Elizabeth Gaskell, novelist and biographer, this dilapidated building has fortunately been bought by the Manchester Historic Buildings Trust. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Her house in Manchester is now a Museum, the street in Knutsford where she lived has been renamed in her honour, and Manchester University has an Elizabeth Gaskell library.

General Links:

Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Gaskell

BBC history site:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/gaskell_elizabeth.shtml

The Gaskell Society:

http://www.gaskellsociety.co.uk/

From the same site a detailed account of her life and works:

http://www.gaskellsociety.co.uk/life.html

An article of the Daily Mail:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-496640/The-amazing-secret-life-Cranford-creator-Elizabeth-Gaskell.html

Spartacus Educational:

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/Jgaskell.htm

 

FREE links to her work:

Cranford:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0083ZEYHO/

Wives and daughters:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0084ADOVK/

Ruth:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0082XU52A/

Mary Barton:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004UJ0ZS4/

The Grey Woman and Other Tales:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0083ZN9NY/

Sylvia’s Lovers:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00849TP9G/

Cousin Phillis:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0082XUCLO/

My Lady Ludlow:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0082XMRBC/

And more…

 

And links to TV versions of her work (BBC):

Cranford (I truly love this series! It’s a must!)

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000Z1TYT2/

Return to Cranford (Yes, I also love this one).

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B002KSA4I8/

North and South:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0007N1BBC/

Wives and Daughters:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00005KB4H/

Her page in imdb with information on other TV series (earlier versions):

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0309121/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1

Thank you for reading, I hope you’ve enjoyed, and if you have, remember to like, share, comment, and CLICK! It’s FREE!

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Hi all:

You’ll remember I posted the beginning of a YA novella that I was getting ready for publication, ‘Twin Evils?’ a couple of weeks ago. Well, it’s finally available in Amazon, and to welcome it and introduce it to everybody I thought I’d leave you the description, another taster, and the book cover. And of course, the link….

I hope you enjoy it and you go and check it out!

Twin Evils?

Once upon a time there was a pair of twins, a girl and boy. Ruth was blonde, blue eyes, very fair and really good. Max was dark haired, grey eyes, broody and bad. Their next door neighbour and pal, Hilda, tried to be friends with both but it was not an easy task. They didn’t like each other and she found herself in the middle trying to keep the peace. Max found his sister impossibly perfect and tiresome, and Ruth could not stand her brother’s bad boy attitude and his horrible behaviour. She was scared of him. Ruth was too perfect and child-like for the real world and Hilda suspected something was wrong but didn’t know what. Was she the angel everybody took her for? Was she ill? Why didn’t she behave her own age?  When both twins started talking about fate and said that “something” would happen she worried. What could she do? Unfortunately they were right and “something” happened.

‘Twin Evils?’ is a Young Adult novella (approx. 40 pages) that begins like a fairy tale, talks about friendship against all odds, tragedy, romance, and has a touch of the paranormal. Fast paced and entertaining with intriguing, mysterious and ultimately lovable characters it will make you feel good but leave you wondering. If you have plenty of imagination and love a compact and fulfilling read, try it out!

And now, if you remember the previous extract, the two families were preparing a party…

At the party Max was wearing black denim trousers and a black T-shirt. He didn’t listen to his mother about wearing something ‘nicer’. With the final details of the cake, Hilda and her family got to the party quite late, when all was well on the way. Max was in the hall, and seemed to be anxiously waiting for Hilda.

“Hi Hilda. It’s ludicrous. You must see Ruth’s dress. It’s so…disgusting…I can’t even talk.”

“That’s something that doesn’t happen to you very often. Happy Birthday Max.” Hilda kissed him on the cheek, but he grabbed her by the arms, hugged her, and planted a kiss on her lips.

“Nice” He said with a smile.

“If it weren’t your birthday I’d slap you. My parents have your present, but I guess you’ll open them later. Where is your sister?”

“Inside, licking the teachers’ bums.”

Hilda pinched his bottom, and when he laughed, she slapped him on his behind too.

“More, more…I love it…Be kinky with me, will you, Hilda?”

Hilda couldn’t avoid blushing, and to cover it up she turned around.

“Shut up, you pervert. I am going to kiss your sister. See you later.”

Ruth was being petted and admired by all the adults. Her dress was somewhat infantile for her age. The pink ribbons and the white lace made her look younger, and her long hair done in locks was excessive. For once Hilda agreed with Max. It was too sweet and syrupy for her own taste. Ruth wasn’t very developed as yet, but she was far too old for that. Most of the other girls in the party were wearing short dresses or tight trousers, but Ruth…Hilda looked at her own flowery dress. Simple, normal…She intruded to kiss Ruth and tell her about the presents. Ruth replied that she’d be out soon. Hilda left her to her admirers and went outside.

“So, what’s your opinion?”

Max was next to her again.

“I agree with you completely. I think your sister is far too old for that kind of dress.”

“You see? I am not always wrong.”

“You’re seldom right, though.”

“I’ll get you a drink. Seldom right. I like it.”

Max returned shortly with a soda.

“No punch?”

“You don’t want to drink that punch.”

“But your father is a real expert at mixing it.”

“Not today. I’ve tried it. It’s too sweet for me, and I know you don’t like drinks that sweet. He used peach instead of lemon. Bad choice.” Max said.

“I don’t like peach. OK, I’ll trust you on this one.”

Max bowed and went back to his corner, to “observe”.

Steph and Patrick were the appointed cooks of the barbecue, some people began to dance, the cake was brought in and the candles blown, mainly by Ruth while Max stayed behind, the twins opened their presents…There were more gifts for Ruth than for Max. Ruth got jewellery, clothes, perfumes…Max got some records, books, computer games…Hilda gave Ruth a pair of earrings she liked and Max an Ouija board. He was thrilled by it.

Ruth gave one of her lovely speeches to thank everybody for their kindness, her family and Hilda’s in particular for making it ‘such a special birthday’. When she finished, Max stood up and said:

“I am not as good with speeches as my most adorable twin sister, but I decided to share something with you. I hope you like it.”

He climbed up on a chair, turned his back on the guests, and pulled his T-shirt up. Most people were simply amazed by it, but Ruth fainted and both sets of parents got very distressed. Hilda heard the comments of a couple of students in their same course:

“What’s all the fuss about? It’s a fantastic tattoo. What’s all the fuss about?”

“Maybe they hate tattoos. It might be against their religion. Or it’s some family thing…I don’t care.”

Patrick and Steph took Ruth inside and laid her on the sofa. She recovered shortly after and asked Hilda, who was looking after her:

“Why did he do that? Why did he choose that drawing? It’s a threat, isn’t it?”

“He did it all for effect. He felt nobody was paying him enough attention. I didn’t realise what he wanted to do with it. He’d showed it to me when he came back from camping and he said that he’d show it to your parents, but not when. I should have imagined…”

“You couldn’t have known. He’s too devious.”

As the night went on, the behaviour among the young people became more and more bizarre. Hilda couldn’t understand what was happening. They became very loud, some began fighting, many were sick…Even Ruth seemed not herself, dancing madly and then becoming sick all over her dress. It wasn’t normal. Something was going on. Hilda looked at Max. What had he done? He was smiling, like the cat that’d eaten the cream, and he was looking at the punch…She had to confirm her suspicions. She went to get a glass of punch. Max pushed her before she could drink it and spilt it all on the floor.

“Sorry.”

Hilda held his arm tight and looked him in the eyes.

“What did you put in the punch, Max? I’m not daft, you know?”

“No…” He opened his mouth to deny it, avoiding her gaze, but she took his chin and made him look at her. He gave up. “OK…only some whisky, vodka, and a few pills.”

“What type of pills?”

“Amphetamines, Es…Nothing too dangerous. They’ll all be fine tomorrow. It’s funny to see the adorable Ruth sick like a parrot. Lovely.”

“You’re nasty, Max. Very nasty.”

Hilda rushed to her parents and explained the situation. With the help of the other adults still at the party, they got rid of the drink and took the worst of the girls and boys home. None of them seemed to require medical attention. Hilda left the house without a word for Max. She was mad at him. He had endangered everybody. OK, he might have been angry because Ruth had dominated the party, but…How could he be so nasty and mindless? And, did she want to be friendly with somebody like him?

Twin Evils cover11

Link:

http://viewbook.at/B00BDRA9DM

Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed it and check the novella out. And please, spread the word!

And on Friday, guest author Eduardo Perellón!

Hi all:

I mentioned that I’m working on a YA series (and I’m in the process of translating it to Spanish) but as an introduction to that I’ve decided to publish (within the next few weeks) a YA novella that I wrote some time ago. It has a touch of the paranormal and a bit of romance although that is not yet evident in the little taster/teaser I enclose.

I hope you enjoy it! I’ll keep you updated on its publication.

And without further ado, here it is:

Twin Evils?

Hilda’s friend, Ruth, was the prettiest and loveliest girl in town. Her blond hair was fine and silky, her eyes blue like sapphires, her mouth red like coral. She would have been chanted by the poets of old if she’d lived in a different time. Ruth was the pride and darling of Yorktown. And she was clever enough, and generous and kind. She had it all.

Ruth had a brother too. Max was her twin, but hardly anybody would have guessed that they were related. He was very tall and thin, his hair was thick, curly and black like coal, his eyes grey like slate, and his mouth had thin lips that hardly ever smiled. He was the black sheep of the family, and Ruth and him were known as ‘the angel and the devil’ by the population.

Hilda had known them both all her life. They were the same age, and, in fact, their families were friendly before they were even born. Their parents used to go out on double dates and they got married on a double wedding. They lived in contiguous houses and it was as if they were all members of the same family. Hilda had always felt that it was her duty to befriend Ruth and Max. The task had been very easy with Ruth, she was friendly with everybody, but Max wasn’t an easy boy. As a child, when they played together, he used to torture animals, insects, fight with other children…Ruth always shied away from him, she couldn’t bear any type of violence, but Hilda wasn’t squeamish, and Max had always assumed that Hilda approved of what he did. She told him many times that she didn’t like his behaviour but he insisted that her words were only a pose. Max was always as nasty as he could be towards his sister. He put dead animals in her bed, maggots in her food, ruined her dresses…Once Hilda stopped him when he was about to set his sleeping sister’s hair on fire. Ruth woke up with the discussion and slapped him when she heard what he was about to do, but he only laughed. No threats from Ruth, no warnings from his parents, no punishment from his teachers made any difference to him.

The summer of the twins’ seventeenth birthday, Max had given everybody a break by deciding to go camping with some other youngsters. They had had two weeks of peace, and the two families had been preparing the twins’ birthday party at ease, in perfect tranquillity.

“Hilda! Hilda!”

“Oh no, he’s back” Hilda’s father, Steph, mumbled under his breath.

“Hilda!”

“Go to see what he wants, before we all end up deaf or mad.” Mandy, Hilda’s mother, ordered.

“All right, all right. I’ll go.”

“Hilda!”

Hilda marched into the garden feeling like a martyr. The sacrifices she had to make to keep the peace! Max was restlessly running up and down his garden. He opened his mouth and began:

“Hi…Oh, you are here.”

Yes, Max. Here I am. Do you always have to be so noisy?”

“Shut up! I must show you something.” He grabbed Hilda by the arm and dragged her over the fence.

“Be careful, will you?”

“Sorry. Come, quick.”

Hilda and Max entered the house through the back door of the lounge, opening into the garden. Hilda said hello in passing to Max’s mother, Eleanor, and his father, Patrick. Ruth was sitting in her room, with the door open.

“Oh Ruth, how…?”

Max pushed Hilda into his room.

“Don’t talk to her. You aren’t here to talk to her. You’ve come to see something.”

“When will you grow up, Max? I’m your sister’s friend too, and…”

“Stop it, please. Look…”

Max switched the lights on. His room was painted in black, walls and ceiling, with strange cabalistic inscriptions and devilish drawings. It was always dark inside. Once he made light, he took his T-shirt off and showed Hilda his back.

“What do you think?”

Hilda was speechless. It was an incredible tattoo. A black eagle, with spread wings, attacking a white dove. The eagle’s beak was dripping blood, and the red colour of the tattoo was very intense, quasi pulsating. The dove had blue eyes and was carrying a branch of wheat. The eagle’s eyes were grey and the wings looked shiny and iridescent. It was an extremely vivid tattoo. And the meaning was too clear for Hilda to be able to ignore it. Max always called Ruth ‘the white dove’. It was horrible.

“Why did you do that, Max?”

“There was a guy incredibly good with tattoos nearby. It’s my own design.”

“I’ve noticed that.”

“Why don’t you like it? Isn’t it good?”

“It’s good. Real good. But, what does it mean?”

“Mean?…Nothing. It’s only a tattoo.”

Max tried his most innocent expression, but it didn’t come natural to him. Not convincing at all.

“I don’t like the imagery.” Ruth said.

“Imagery. Lovely word. I love how you talk, like a book.”

“Bye Max.”

Ruth turned her back on Max and stepped toward the door.

“Wait, wait! I have another tattoo!”

“If it’s like this one I’d rather not see it, thank you.”

“Oh no, it’s very different. Guess where it is.”

Ruth had stopped and turned to look at Max, but shook her head and carried walking.

“I’m not interested in games, Max. I have things to do.”

Max ran to the door to prevent Hilda from leaving.

“Come on…I’ve been away for two weeks and you haven’t even asked me how it was or how I am, or nothing. I’ve missed you, you know? And you don’t even care enough to ask.” He whined.

“You haven’t asked me either. You only came shouting…”

“OK, I’m sorry. I just had to show it to someone or I would have exploded. I haven’t showed it to anybody.”

“Is it a surprise then?”

“Yes, yes. You won’t tell, will you?”

Max and his secrets. Hilda had been selected as his official confidant many years back and she had never managed to get rid of the privilege. Although, Max never quite confessed everything. He always kept something to himself. That made things slightly easier for Hilda. Sometimes. Sometimes it made them worse.

“You’ll have to show your parents. They’ll find out.”

“I will, soon…But keep it quiet in the meantime, OK?”

“Fine.”

“Now, guess where I have the other tattoo.”

Thank you for reading, and of course…feel free to guess…I might or might not reveal the location of Max’s second tattoo…

Ah, on Friday guest author Judith Priay!

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