Welcome to the Autumn 2008 On-Line Edition of
Waterlooville's Parish Magazine
St George's News

Book Corner

I do hope that you have all returned from your holidays refreshed and recharged. How did you get on with your summer reading?

I indulged my love of history with an absolutely first class novel from best selling historian Alison Weir. Entitled ‘The Lady Elizabeth’ (her fight for survival and for the Crown), it tells the story of Elizabeth I before she became Queen. This is set in Tudor England at its most dangerous. Henry VIII, a towering figure, dominates her childhood. Her respect and loyalty to him are evident. Then there is Mary, at first a loving sister, but as Queen Mary I, a suspicious and threatening rival. Other characters weave in and out in a wonderfully rich and compelling account.

The book opens with Mary greeting a very young Lady Elizabeth with gifts of a crucifix and rosary for her chapel. A little later they would meet again, Mary charged with the unenviable task of breaking the news of Anne Boleyn’s death.

Alison Weir has written many non-fiction books including ‘Britain’s Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy’ and ‘The Six Wives of Henry VIII’. That is why I enjoy her books (she has also written ‘Innocent Traitor’ the story of Lady Jane Grey, great-niece to Henry VIII, and her nine-day reign) because of the way she draws upon her vast factual knowledge. Even the dialogue is based on the actual words of people who lived at that time.

Interestingly, the author does include something very controversial, which she admits goes against her historical instincts and that is Elizabeth’s pregnancy. This is based on rumours and legends (it is apparently on record that in 1548 there were rumours about Elizabeth miscarrying Admiral Thomas Seymour’s child). However the author states that there is no reliable evidence to support this, but as a fiction writer she allowed herself some dramatic freedom.

‘The Lady Elizabeth’ by Alison Weir. (Hutchinson). 978-0-09-179672-3 £12.99

Adina Burton recommends any of the Lilian Harry books - she writes novels set in the Portsmouth area during World War II. She grew up close to Portsmouth Harbour, where her earliest memories are of nights spent in an air-raid shelter listening to the drone of enemy aircraft and the thunder of exploding bombs.

At present, Adina is reading A Girl Called Thursday and it is set in Haslar Hospital. For those of you who know the area it is very interesting.


Hello Pud-swan by Bryan Beggs is a new and unique children’s book.

Naomi House Children’s Hospice is set to benefit from this newly published storybook for children by Andover author Bryan Beggs. ‘Hello Pud-swan’ [a three-part set] is a story with a difference, which aims to capture the imagination of readers aged from 7 – 10 years, in an interactive and educational way. It is the tale of everyday children Melanie and Angela, who travel secretly with the strangely named Pud-swan, a life-size (but invisible) white rabbit, to lots of different and exciting places, including London, Los Angeles and St. Petersburg. Topics of geographical, historical, scientific, and cultural interest are woven into the storyline, as are the 7, 8 and 9 times mathematical tables!

In each of the three books, there are pages for a reader to do his or her own illustrations, encouraging imagination and creativity and making the book personal and special to each individual child.

All information about these books can be found on the books’ own website (www.pud-swan.org). Clues in the books and on the puzzle page of the website permit the reader to solve the mystery of the meaning of the name ‘Pud-swan’.

As mentioned above, the proceeds from the sale of these entertaining and innovative children’s tales are being donated to Naomi House Hospice. ‘Hello Pud-swan’ is available from all branches of Waterstones Bookshops or may be ordered directly from the publisher, T.V.C. Book Society in Andover, on 01264 365190. Complete 3 part set in a slip-case £20, or available individually for £8.99 each.


Don’t forget! If you have read an especially good book this summer - recommend it to others. Just a few lines will suffice (or more if you wish!) giving the title and author. My aim is to have a ‘reading wall’ of suggestions for people to choose from. I would like to invite our readers from different areas locally and around the world to join in.

Lynn Winter

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page last updated 09 September 2008