I am really excited to be part of this event hosted by Eyam Museum as part of the re-launch of Jill Paton Walsh’s A Parcel of Patterns. I read the book as a young teen but a complimentary of the new edition courtesy of Vintage Books has meant I have been able to revisit this well-composed tale about Mall Percival and her struggle to keep herself alive as well as the love affair with Thomas who she must never see. In what could be regarded as an imaginative reworking of the Emmett-Rowland love story, Walsh gives us a glimpse of what life was like for anyone in the village who loved someone and feared for their safety.
I am a little starstruck to be included in an event with Berlie Doherty. I used her collection of fairy tales many times in my classroom as a Year 2 teacher, as well as extracts from her Carnegie Medal-winning book, Children of Winter (which I have also re-read in readiness for the event next week). I hope I manage to keep my fan-girling to a minimal in the presence of such a great children’s author!
I recently read Joanne Burn’s The Hemlock Cure, which brings two of my interests together in one fantastic plot; plague and witchcraft. It will be excellent to hear Joanne talk about the inspirations for her novel and the salvation of Mae not only from plague but other sinister forces.
I have one book left to read; American author Lisa Manterfield’s The Smallest Thing. Lisa takes Emmott Syddall and brings her into a modern day setting and I cannot wait to read it. I have 10 days before the event so I had better get started…
Some of the things I find interesting across all our books:
- How we treat the same historical figures so differently in each book, particularly Emmott and Catherine
- How Marshall Howe always seems to elicit some kind of sympathetic response in the writer; as if we just need to give him a small amount of redemption
- The fascination with apothecary and its links with secrecy and witchcraft
If you are a fan of books set in perilous plague villages, definitely sign up for this event!