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Charlotte Frost

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Archive Photography: How to photograph oversize photos, curled documents, and heirloom treasures.
Archive Photography: How to photograph oversize photos, curled documents, and heirloom treasures.
Price: £2.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Historians' guide to the camera, 7 Mar 2014
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I wanted to buy a camera to use in archives, and this book told me what I needed to know. Plus invaluable tips and explanations.


World War II London Blitz Diary Volume 4, 1944-1945 (A Woman's Revelations Enduring War and Marriage) (World War ll London Blitz Diary)
World War II London Blitz Diary Volume 4, 1944-1945 (A Woman's Revelations Enduring War and Marriage) (World War ll London Blitz Diary)

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Challenges received wisdom, 30 July 2012
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If you enjoyed the previous diaries, Volume 4 will not disappoint. If you have yet to read them, Volume 4 will persuade you.

This final volume of the Blitz diaries shows Ruby Side Thompson still tempted to return to the Anglican Church, and unsure as to whether she wished to remain under the same roof as her staunchly Roman Catholic husband. Fear and lack of sleep during night-time bombing sharpened her dilemmas. She continued to struggle with poor health, feel degraded by wartime privations, and believe that men, and men only, had caused the war. New troubles were the V1 and V2 missiles which terrified civilians even as the prospect of an Allied victory increased, and a near-permanent family rift which was not fully healed by the birth of a grandchild. Writing candidly, without revision, Ruby continued to produce a compelling, day-by-day account of a troubled woman in troubled times which is by turns thoughtful, intolerant, far-sighted and reactionary.

I can't improve on the many excellent reviews of the diaries posted on Amazon and elsewhere, but I add a personal observation. Although my relatives lived through the Blitz, none described retching with fear, or limbs that shook with terror so violently during night-time bombing that they hurt the next day. Nor, in my presence, did anyone question the need for the war or doubt the Government's honesty during its duration. Ruby's diaries challenge received wisdom.


Blue Cheese and Chou Mian
Blue Cheese and Chou Mian
by Sam Merry
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.76

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Comedy, romance and misanthropy, 18 July 2012
More than a century ago the satirical magazine 'Punch' serialised 'The Diary of a Nobody', a comic novel innocently narrated by a self-important, middle aged clerk called Charles Pooter. In 'Blue Cheese and Chow Mian' Pooter lives again, this time as a misanthropic academic historian with a PhD in philosophy and a Chinese wife whom he adores.

This isn't a plot-led novel. What keeps you reading is the risky blur of autobiography and fiction. Just as you start feeling disquiet about anecdotes of uxorial mispronunciation, however affectionate and well told, the narrator's mother telephones and demands to know his telephone number. So this is fiction, or at least hyperbole. Or is it? Charles Pooter lived in a fictional London suburb, not in the lovingly described, real-life town of Gosport. Perhaps the author really did offend the lady upstairs by jovially alluding to a certain mammal. Has he risked post-publication unpleasantness by repeating speculation as to Mr Wang's business associates? Do his family still speak to him?

Funny thing is, by the end of the book we've stopped worrying. We realise that we've been reading a love story.

Sam Merry is a fellow AuthorsOnline author and a near neighbour.


The Spire Chronicle
The Spire Chronicle
Price: £1.24

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Spire Chronicle, 18 Jan 2012
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In a frank, first-person narrative, a sometime journalist from a nineteenth-century English country town chronicles the first three decades of his life. He is talented and well intentioned, but his craving for acceptance traps him in a life he despises. Ineffectual attempts at rebellion only worsen his predicament, and he is told what he must do to atone. Though the task is dangerous and illegal he is too weak to heed his misgivings, and goes along with the plan.

I bought 'The Spire Chronicle' out of affection for Salisbury; I read it because it is a page-turner. The manuscript was, allegedly, hidden some hundred and fifty years ago by an author using the pseudonym 'Ralph Chatterforth'. Ralph writes in the style of his time about characters with outrageously Dickensian names who share similarities with Dickens' characters. The real-life town of Salisbury, under whose cathedral spire the story unfolds, parallels Dickens' London in its mixture of gentility and grime. However 'The Spire Chronicle' is not a parody or imitation. Ralph writes about his desires and inner life with a freedom unthinkable for a Dickens' character, sparing us no details of their consequences. There is no Dickensian happy ending. Ralph's actions in the closing pages, when his only choices are between different evils, are appalling, and their outcome uncertain. Yet they are a bizarre triumph, for at least he is thinking for himself.

Well-researched, tightly crafted, thoroughly recommended.


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