Cancer Daily Life, by Carola Schmidt, Illustrated by Rafael Antonio

Cancer Daily Life is a bittersweet collection of illustrations that readers highly involved in the C world can relate to, including friends and family of people with cancer.’ From back cover.

Our Scotland The Brave bravely gets chemotherapy while reading Cancer Daily Life by Carola Schmidt. It makes him feel not alone.

Reading Cancer Daily Life

This short, colourful picture book finds the odd things, the weird things, and even the ironic things can bring a guarded smile, during cancer treatment. It’s a little something you could give a friend who is going through cancer, especially when you are lost for words to say to them yourself. (This certainly describes me.) There are ironic reflections on the long days of feeling sick and lonely and terrible. There are little glimpses of the fears to be tackled and the fantasies conjured up during the hard hours of treatment. Recommended as a little splash of colour in the daily life of the “C” world.

Where to find Cancer Daily Life:  Amazon, and Book Depository.

Carola Schmidt, the author, is a Pediatric Oncology Pharmacist and author of several scientific books on paediatric oncology. She wrote Chubby’s Tale: The True Story of a Teddy Bear Who Beat Cancer, illustrated by Frederico Schmidt. Mawson and his friends reviewed it here. Carola also wrote Bald is Beautiful: A Letter for a Fabulous Girl, a book about ‘about love, beauty, happiness, and friendship when going through various changes in our lives ‘. Find it at Amazon and Abebooks.

Rafael Antonio is an illustrator for games, books and comics. To find him, plonk a paw down here for Twitter .

Mark, your host at Baffled Bear Books, is guardian of writer-Bear Mawson. Of Mawson’s book It’s A Bright World To Feel Lost In ” was said, “Reading this book is like receiving a great big hug of reassurance and a huge hot chocolate with fluffy marshmallows.” Review by Lady Bracknell. Of Mawson’s She Ran Away From Love was said, “‘A magical little grand tour into the meaning of happiness.’ Sharrie Williams, Author of The Maybelline Story.

The Lagoon at Lady Elliot Island on the Great Barrier Reef

Welcome back to Lady Elliot Island, a coral quay on The Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia. The Barrier Reef, as everyone knows, is the mighty reef down which Nemo’s dad swam to find his fish-napped little son.

We flew here with BeeBear (read all about it here) and walked around exploring (read it here.)

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But what do you really want to see at a coral lagoon? The lagoon of course! The glass bottomed boats leave from the beach at the end of the runway that runs through the middle of the island (see aerial view.) Almost all the trees you see here, by the way, have been planted in the past 30 years during the patient restoration process – it had been stripped down for the guano in the years before that.

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Looking back from the boat at nearly high tide, you can see how clear the lagoon water is. Those buildings on the far left of the photo below are some cabins of the Eco Resort. We were in one of them. See how close they are to the sea. We stayed in one of those. They are not fancy because this is a low-impact eco resort.

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Our glass bottomed boat took us further out to just above the main reef where the water gets more blue and you can see the whole island from here.  Out and out we went. In the deeper water above the reef we tourists went snorkling with the boat crew keeping on eye on us so we felt quite safe. The staff on Lady Elliot Island must have the best job in Australia, in the world.

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We saw all kinds of fish and a huge groper and even briefly saw a manta ray.  A large green turtle came up from under a coral shelf right in front of me. It was one of those moments that stay in your mind forever.  I have no pictures – didn’t have that kind of camera. Besides while you are down there, you just want to experience the moments fully, right there, as you are.

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And what of the coral? The coral is not easy to see in the deeper water especially as the swell builds, and from the boat itself this is about all you can make out (below). The startling blues of the starfish are clearly visible though. We saw lots of coral at low tide and I will show you that later.

Don’t worry, I won’t leave you without any photos at all of the wonderful animals in the lagoon, for once back on shore we saw this little fella. He was just turtling along right among the people! It is after all, a turtle’s home, not peoples’ home.

” I’m just a turtle,
Turtling along,
A happy green turtle,
Burbling a song…”

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We settled on a deck chair as evening fell. Would the big female loggerhead turtles clamber up this very beach in the night? Yes, they did! But that’s for another post.

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You are at Baffled Bear Books, the blog by Mark O’Dwyer, guardian of
Mawson, Writer Bear of It’s A Bright World To Feel Lost In. 

Emma of FNM Book Reviews said of  Bright World, “Comforting, like an old security blanket”.  

The Adventurous Princess and other Feminist Fairy Tales, by Erin-Claire Barrow

‘What if Beauty stood up to the Beast, the Princess never tried to sleep on the pea .. and the Swan Maiden took revenge on the hunter who kidnapped her?‘ (From the Back Cover.)

Professor Caddy got her paws on this beautifully illustrated retelling of fairy tales. On the cover, a young woman, head held high and wearing sturdy boots, looks ready to protect herself (spear) and to find her own way about (map). A glance at the back cover suggests she is less concerned about the dragon than the dragon might be about her. Not a tiara or movement-restricting dress in sight. ‘I must bring this along to our Tedettes Jane Austen Bookclub’, said Caddy. ‘All these princesses look so different and bold’.

Our Samantha loved the first tale, ‘The Princess and The Pea’. This is the kind of princess Sam wants to be! She dashed off to put on her ‘exploring bag’, inspired to go adventuring herself right away.

Meanwhile, wise old Hilda-Bear is reading and re-reading ‘Cinderella.’ ‘Marvellous’, mutters Hilda, ‘ just marvellous. Of course, why should we bears of ‘a certain age’ miss out when it comes to fairy tales. Marvellous, just marvellous’.

Tedette Lizbeth is very conscious of her lovely fur. She went straight to the tale of ‘Snow White’ which features the magic talking mirror. Well, it was not quite how she remembered it. “Mirror, mirror on the wall’, asks the Queen, ‘who is the fairest of them all?’ Lizbeth was delighted at how this story turns out. She will never look at mirrors the same way again.



The nine tales retold here include familiar favourites such as ‘Beauty and The Beast’, ‘The Frog Prince’ and ‘The ‘Swan Maiden’, but now you see them with new eyes. After reading these, I think we will all want to see more! Oh, and there are ‘morals’ in these tales for princes too, for instance, that wearing glasses and loving books is perfectly fine, and that waiting about on a lily pad in some murky pond hoping a princess will come to you is perhaps not the best way to go forth in life.

‘The charm, whimsy and magic of traditional fairytales remain, but the diverse characters challenge stereotypes about who they should be or how the y should act, stand up for themselves, and shape their own futures. ‘(From Back Cover).

The Adventurous Princess is written and also illustrated by Erin-Claire Barrow. The full-page colour drawings are respectful of the original tales but visually turn us to appreciate them differently. Erin hopes such stories ‘inspire young people, and young women in particular, to see themselves as the strong, clever and adventurous heroes of their own stories.’ (Foreword.) You can see more of Erin’s work at her website, for instance her collection called ‘Dangerous creatures from Celtic folklore.’

The Adventurous Princess and other feminist fairly tales is published by Publisher Obscura, an imprint of Odyssey Books . You can also find it on Book Depository, on Amazon (currently FREE on Kindle unlimited, although with illustrations of this quality you will want to hold the real thing in your hands), and on Barnes and Noble.

Mark, your host here at Baffled Bear Books, is also guardian and blundering typist for Mawson, one of this bright world’s few published bears. Mawson is the writer-bear of It’s A Bright World To Feel Lost In and She Ran Away From Love. 

Slow Life on Lady Elliot Island, Queensland, Australia

Hope you enjoyed reading of BeeBear’s adventurous journey to Lady Elliot Island, the southern most coral quay on the Barrier Reef.

We settled into the cabin and stepped out on to our little veranda just 50 metres from the beach by the lagoon. The tide was half out. Later, we joined a guided reef walk at low tide. Snorkelling is only allowed at high tide.

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Overhanging our veranda were our closest neighbours: a few hundred of the thousands of quarrelling birds here to nest in November. This kind of high density living would make anyone quarrelsome! Birds that usually nest in the sand taken to the trees due to lack of ground space. Every pandanus tree branch is weighed down with occupants. The noise is constant. The staff kindly leave ear plugs in the cabins so that people can sleep at night. More about the birds later.

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What does everyone want to do on their first day on a tropical island? Explore! We collected the essentials for Brave Explorers: strong shoes, hats, sunnies, water bottles, and we were ready. Oops, nearly forgot the SLR camera.

For most of our explorations we saw few other people. There are at most 160 people staying and working here. This is done deliberately to keep down the impact of we humans on the wildlife. Of course, they are all doing things too like swimming, snorkelling, going out in the glass bottom boats, or just lazing on their cabin verandas.

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Some way around the shore we came upon a stretch of coarse sand. Here we could lurch along reasonably well, sinking into the whiteness.

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But long stretches are a difficult scramble between the sea and sharp coral on one side and lumpy rocks on the other. The coconut here was washed ashore from elsewhere. There are no coconut trees here.

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Between the trees that begin just up from the rocks and sand the nesting turtles were digging nesting holes at night. The staff teams go around each morning to count and inspect them. We hoped to see some later.

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If you look at the map BeeBear is showing her friends (above), you can see a compass (or steering helm) symbol at the top. The lighthouse is up there. It’s keepers were the island’s only occupants for many years.

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Over the next two days we took a reef walk, went snorkelling in the lagoon, and looked for turtles. More about that in future posts. For now let’s try to ignore those raucous birds and loll about on this coral quay looking toward the sunset.

Mark, your host at Baffled Bear Books, is guardian and blundering typist for Mawson, one of this bright world’s few published bears.

Of Mawson’s first book, It’s A Bright World To Feel Lost In, a reviewer said, ‘Reading this book is like receiving a great big hug of reassurance and a huge hot chocolate with fluffy marshmallows.’

She Ran Away From Love: Review by Tinted Edges

Tinted Edges

Teddy bear picture book about finding yourself

I received a copy of this book courtesy of the author, whose other book I reviewed previously.

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“She Ran Away From Love” by Mawson is a picture book about a teddy bear called Frilly who isn’t sure she is being her authentic self. She consults her friend Mawson for advice, but ultimately decides that she needs to go on a journey to find the answers herself.

This is a sweet book that gently explores the idea of personal development and wanting more from yourself and from your life. Frilly is an interesting character who tries to reconcile being true to herself with personal growth, and I particularly liked the part where she is very assertive about the type of quest she is going on and declines Mawson’s offer of swords, shields and horses because they are neither quiet nor pink. I also like…

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After The Bloodwood Staff, by Laura E Goodin: An adventure book that riffs on adventure books

‘If you’re thinking that I’m just a middle-aged woman who should stay at home with her cats and her book club for a couple of decades until its time to go into a hospice and die, then you can think again.’ (Sybil in Chapter One.)

Hello blog reader. So, its been another dreary week of blah work and same-old, same-old, has it? Yeah, I know. You deserve something for yourself. So you head to a book shop (of course) seeking an old time adventure, a ripping yarn, a tale of deering do and plucky heroes, a tale that involves absolutely no commuter trains and no grey-walled offices. Oh look, here’s one with a cover of a faded mustard colour and the title, After Bloodwood Staff by Laura E. Goodwin, printed in enticing Art Nouveau font. Perfect.

‘Why would you want me along? Fat, unemployed, out of shape.. how would I stand up to pirates or savages or wild beasts or even leeches? …. The thought of trudging through a jungle picking leeches off his private’s and drinking blood from a cut on the neck of his pack horse .. ‘ ( Chapter One In Which Hoyle Meets An Adventurer.)

Hoyle, Sybil and Ada trek in search of the Bloodwood Staff

You start to read. Hoyle, enters a bookshop (good man; already you like him) after his pretty dreadful week. He selects an obscure vintage 19th Century adventure novel called After The Bloodwood Staff which has a cover of faded mustard colour and a title printed in enticing Art Nouveau font .. (Umm, what?) .. But a strange women snatches it from his hands. Sybil has convinced herself that it contains a Vital Clue to a mysterious artefact. Next thing Hoyle knows, he is travelling to a far flung land (Australia) to trudge through gum-tree-jungles alive with creepy birds (kookaburras) in search of the artefact described in the vintage novel, the Bloodwood Staff. It’s a bizarre journey for a soft middle-aged city dweller to set out on with someone he barely knows. But then again, why not?

‘What is this, Lord of the Rings? he thought irritably. Be careful what you wish for. You wanted an adventure? You wanted to do something meaningful? Well, here you go.‘ (Hoyle in Chapter 21).

In this twist on the classic vintage yarn, with chapter headings like ‘In Which Things Go Badly Wrong’ and ‘In Which The Anarchists Descend Into Anarchy’, the redoubtable Sybil leads Hoyle and Ada, a foul mouthed ‘urchin’ from Sydney, into one predicament after another. We get kidnappings, hideouts, bad-guys, murders, daring rescues, mad evil villains, mysterious ancient powers, and even romance! It’s all here, the adventure that is going to take you away from that working day dreariness, at least for an afternoon. You might even close the book wondering, as I did, whether to just leave your present existence behind and charge off on a crazy adventure yourself. I mean, apart from the leeches, why not?

After The Bloodwood Staff is published by Odyssey Books and you can also find it here on Book Depository, here on Amazon, and here on Barnes & Noble.

Also from Laura E Goodwin: Mud and Glass with conspiracies and mayhem on a university campus. I loved this madcap book. Just a couple of of the lessons I took from it are – do not underestimate librarians, and never order a cup of macadamia-chilli ice-cream, even if you do want to ‘feel more alive’. See more about it in my review.

Mark is guardian and blundering typist for Mawson, one of this bright world’s few published bears. Mawson is the writer-bear of It’s A Bright World To Feel Lost In and She Ran Away From Love. 

BeeBear Flies to Lady Elliot Island on The Great Barrier Reef

Lady Elliot Island is a coral quay on the south end of The Great Barrier Reef. The tiny island has featured on an episode of David Attenborough’s TV series, Great Barrier Reef  not only because of the bird life, turtles and manta rays there but also because it is a conservation success story.

Some time ago (when BeeBears could still travel on holidays) our BeeBear spent two amazing days and nights there. Naturally, she is bursting to talk all about it to the birds of Mawson’s house and to Tammy Turtle and to YOU.

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Where is Lady Elliot Island? Zoom in on a map of Australia. Find Queensland. On the east coast of Queensland, you can see a large island, Fraser Island  which is the largest sand island in the world. Lady Elliot Island lies north of Fraser Island. Just to get there was an adventure. First, BeeBear (and her people) flew ALL DAY from Perth in Western Australia to Brisbane in Queensland in Boeing 737 (comfort and movies) then on a turbo prop aircraft to Hervey Bay (lots of shaking and rattling. Sandwiches). Then the planes got even smaller. We hoped none would shrink too small to carry a small bear.

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We flew out on a Beechcraft B 200 from Hervey Bay and returned on a Cesna 210 Centurion.  As an experienced aviator herself, Beebear helped to oversee the control thingygums. 

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Our flight from the coastal town of  Hervey Bay to Lady Elliot Island took 80 minutes. We headed out over the sea and then northerly between the mainland and Fraser Island, the big one in the distance (below). If you zoom in on the photo above you can see the navigating thingygum. It shows our position and the red line shows our flight path. 

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Beyond Fraser Island is The Pacific Ocean where the turtles roam for years on the currents after laying their eggs on Lady Elliot and many other islands of The Reef. 

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The colours and swirls and patterns of coastal seas are just too blue for words. And these pics were taken through slightly fuzzy perspex windows so in fact they looked even bluer. We flew past Fraser Island and had a good view of the little islands and sand banks too.

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See that little island in the foreground of the picture above? Imagine an island like that all for oneself.  Our BeeBear thought it just about the right size for a a small-winged bear to settle down on. She would just sit there in the shade by the sand all day simply being  stunned by the colours of the sea. Cyclones could be a bother though.

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Thar she blows! Lady Elliot Island hoves into sight (above). You can see the main coral reef  where the deep dark blue ocean is breaking to white tops (and you can compare with the picture on the brochure at the top of the post). Within the reef lies the lagoon. You can do reef walks at low tide and snorkel there at high tide. You see green turtles and reef sharks and all kinds of starfish and fish and lots of coral. The island is so small that, as you can see, the airstrip goes right across the middle, one side to the other.

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If you look through the blur of the propellor (above) you can see two bands of blue at the end of the landing strip? That’s the lagoon, and after the lagoon the dark deep blue of the Pacific Ocean.  We were to see turtles right there where the  runway strip ends. 

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And there is the Eco Resort on Lady Elliot Island. It’s deliberately low key and low impact. The staff are very involved in caring for the island. They plant trees and count the birds nests and the turtle nests and inform visitors about the wonders of the island.  

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The island was actually a conservation disaster until some decades ago, and since then it has been restored tree by tree. More about Lady Elliot Island in the next post when we go for a walk and enjoy the Slow Life.

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Mark is guardian and blundering typist for Mawson, one of this bright world’s few published bears. Of Mawson’s first book, ‘It’s A Bright World To Feel Lost In’, a reviewer said, ‘Reading this book is like receiving a great big hug of reassurance and a huge hot chocolate with fluffy marshmallows.’

Some of the best philosophers are bears: Introducing Mawson Bear

Here is some of the text of an interview by Rachel Nightingale, author of the Tales of Tarya, of Mark, Mawson Bear’s Guardian.

Mawson is the proud author of It’s a bright world to feel lost in, published by Publisher Obscura. This is a beautiful philosophical book in the vein of The blue day book by Bradley Trevor Grieve. It is the perfect sort of book to buy as a stocking stuffer or Kris Kringle for someone who likes to muse about life, and who hasn’t lost their sense of whimsy. Mawson ‘s second book is She Ran Away From Love.’

Which writer or writers opened your eyes to the magic of storytelling and why?

‘When young I devoured books by many authors but when it comes to the magic they brought me, I will list those by C.S Lewis (Narnia), Issac Asimov (Sci Fi), and Rosemary Sutcliffe (historical fiction).’

Like most readers, what I sought was to be transported from this world.  With these writers I could be in Norman England winning back a castle during a school break, in the woods of Narnia on a rainy Sunday, or fleeing rogue robots during a long car ride.

What is your greatest magical power as a writer?

‘Shyly he says, ‘I listen to the bears’.

Poets, actors, composers, painters, ‘artistic people’, all speak reluctantly about the heart of creativity. They proffer vague expressions like ‘feeling inspired’, ‘being guided’, ‘trusting the muse’, ‘entering into the role’. What does this mean? I think it’s about listening for ‘something’. Now, this ‘something’ cannot not be analysed or modelled on a flow chart. It’s very shy, and it needs to trust you to respect it. I think the greatest magical power of a writer is to gently –don’t startle it –gently reach out for this ‘something’, gain it’s trust; and then to let characters and story flow on from there.

I listen to my bears. I never know when I’ll hear in a voice as quiet as can be imagined the best ponders framed in the best words; and these are ideas and words that I myself did not have in mind, really I didn’t. When I don’t listen but just grind on, my writing is not right: the voice feels wrong, the images don’t flow, and it is not satisfying’.

For the rest of the interview please visit Rachel Nightingale’s website.

While you are there be sure to read more about the books by this novelist, playright, performer and thespian. Rachel ponders much about the power of story and fantasy in our lives. At her website you can learn more about the Commedia dell’Arte, an inspiration for The Tales of Tarya.

My review of The Harlequins Riddle, the first of those tales, is right here. Columbine’s Tale, Book two of the series, and Book Three, Pierrots’ Song are also out now, published by  Odyssey Books.

The Tales of Tarya is now available at Amazon as a complete Kindle Set!

You are at Mark’s blog called Baffled Bear Books. Mark is a bibliophile, dark coffee tragic, and the guardian and blundering typist for Mawson Bear,  one of this bright world’s few published bears.

Cassandra, by Kathryn Gossow

She dreams of plane crashes, earthquakes, tsunamis, bloody coups. She dreams of the stallion sweeping down the hill … . P. 197

Early in the book author Kathryn Gossow had instilled into me a sense of ‘foreboding’. Like Cassie trying to clarify her visions, I struggled to discern what the feeling of impending trouble was about? Would it concern Paulo, or Athena, or a secret in the family, or Cassie herself? The possibilities thicken and darken and thunder down on Cassie’s life like the ominous horse in her nightmares.

Cassandra: A princess of Troy and priestess of Apollo. She was cursed to utter true prophecies but to never be believed. (Wiki)

What if you could foresee people’s futures, for instance, that one kid on the school bus will die of bowel cancer, another will briefly shine on the stage but never become famous? A wonderful ability, yes? What if you fill with dread but you cannot make out why. Your visions swirl without a clear meaning. The Thing happens. If you had warned people, and if they had believed you, surely you could have diverted the accident or illness or mistake from happening. Is this a ‘super-power’ or a curse?

The Snake: Some versions of the legend have Cassandra falling asleep in a temple, where the snakes licked her ears so that she could hear the future. (Wiki.)

Cassie seems like an ordinary girl who gets bitten by a snake on a farm in Queensland. Her little brother predicts a drought, she grows to be a grumpy teenager troubled by visions, she scowls at her mother in the ordinary teenage way, she worries about her great-aunt and her Poppy .. Wait a minute. Bitten by a snake? Visions? Her brother foretells a drought?

The Brother: Some versions of the legend give Cassandra a brother, Helenus. Like her, he was always correct in his predictions. Unlike her, he was believed. (Wiki.)

She tries to make one true friend, Athena, who introduces her to the Tarot. (‘Her thoughts swirl with colour and the patterns and the meanings of the cards’. P. 77). She clumsily attempts to fit in with the cool kids, she experiments with alcohol and dope, her visions worsen, she is keen on a boy named Paulo .. Wait, wait. Athena? ‘Paulo’ .. or ‘Apollo’? Didn’t Apollo’s priestesses take hallucinogens to enhance their visions?

Apollo: Many versions of the myth relate that Cassandra incurred the god Apollo’s wrath by refusing him sex, after promising herself to him in exchange for the power of prophecy. (Wiki.)

This can be read is a ‘coming of age’ novel in that it concerns teenage insecurities and self-doubts, the cruel cut and thrust of cliques and friendships, and the tensions within families. But I think you will also soon be reading it, as I did, mindful of the big questions about fate and destiny, and mulling over the extent to which every one of one’s own decisions cuts away previous possibilities and opens up lines of new ones.

Kathryn Gossow is also the author of The Dark Poet. An older Cassie, the central character of Cassandra features in the stories in The Dark Poet. As you can see from my review in this blog, the connection is intriguing. The Dark Poet is also published by Odyssey Books.

(The images of the book in this post are courtesy of Odyssey Books and the author.)

Mark, your reviewer here at Baffled Bear Books, is guardian and blundering typist for Mawson, one of this bright world’s few published bears.

‘Chekov’s Three Sisters Would Have Got To Moscow’. Notes on Georgette Heyer

The Tedettes Jane Austen Book Club are now engrossed in the novels of the Queen of Regency Romance, Georgette Heyer. They have learned more about their heroine from Jane Aiken Hodges biography. It’s called The Private World of Georgette Heyer (Quotes from the Chivers 1984 edition).

Hodge’s Foreword: “She was .. an immensely skilled and meticulous craftswoman. She did her best to conceal her high standards and stern moral code behind the mask of romantic comedy.”

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Engrossed in the regency novels of Georgette Heyer

Plots and technique

(From Hodges, Chapter 2). Heyer once said, “My plots are abysmal and I think of them with blood and tears”. Her family confirm she did indeed work at her plots with blood and tears .. plunged in black gloom when things went badly, prowling restlessly about the house until she had her plan worked out, when she would sit down and write … at high speed, often late into the night. Heyer said of her own work in one letter to her publisher:

“ … The Unknown Ajax and Venetia are the best of my later works. My style is really a mixture of Johnson and Austen – what I rely on is a certain gift for the farcial … I know its useless to talk about technique in these degenerate days – but no less a technician than Noel Coward reads me because he thinks my technique is so good. I’m proud of that.”

(From Chapter 8) She kept a single fan letter, received in 1963 from former political prisoner in Romania. The writer spoke of how she had read Friday’s Child before her arrest, and for 12 long years had told and retold the story, committed to memory, of “what Kitten did next” to her fellow inmates.

“Truly, your characters managed to awaken smiles, even when hearts were heavy, stomachs empty and the future dark indeed”.

Praise that would astonish any writer.

Much in Hodge’s biography is of technical interest to writers: Heyer’s dealing with her several publishers and agents, and her views about the blurbs and jackets. There is a lesson too in reading about Heyer’s decades-long tax problems. Even though she always earned a lot she had cash flow problems. These mangled finances were caused by herself and her husband simply not taking a business-like approach to her income.

The Tedettes leave you with their favourite observation from Hodge’s biography:

“She had no patience for .. Russian gloom. If she had been one of Chekhov’s three sisters they would have got to Moscow.”

The Tedettes first looked at Hodge’s biography here, and then read about Heyer’s hero’s here.

This book and more about Miss Heyer the writer can be found at AbeBooks.com, Amazon, and BookDepository. Thanks for joining the Teddettes as they explore the Regency world of Georgette Heyer.

You are at Mark’s blog called Baffled Bear Books. Mark is a dark coffee tragic and bibliophile as well as the Guardian and blundering typist for Mawson Bear, Ponderer of Baffling Things and one of this bright world’s few published bears.

Often A Bounder: The Tedette’s Jane Austen Book Club reads about Georgette Heyer’s Heroes

Thrilled by Jane Austen’s novels, the Tedettes Jane Austen Book Club looked about for more books on the Regency. Their house (like every house, surely) turned out to be a treasure trove of novels by Georgette Heyer.  They also got their paws on Jane Aiken Hodges biography,  The Private World of Georgette Heyer  (Chivers 1984 edition). Read about their discovery here.

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The Tedettes get their paws on a trove of Georgette Heyer Novels

Heroes

Georgette Heyer created her heroes very deliberately.  In correspondence with her publishers she gleefully refers to them in a private shorthand by Type, explaining for instance that a particular character is the “The Heyer Mark I” and another is “The Heyer Mark II” and so on.  She’d skilfully build up such a Type, and the readers’ conceptions of such a man,  and then two or three novels later, turn around the readers’ assumption by changing the decisions and actions of the Hero.

Mr Rochester: the prototype.

Jane Aiken Hodge found unpublished articles by Heyer, one of which will fascinate her readers (see Ch. 5 of the bio) as it concerns Mr Rochester, from Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. This is Heyer’s own view of Mr Rochester:

“It is a accepted fact that women form the bulk of the novel reading public and what woman with romantic leanings wants to read novels which have as their heroes the sort of men she meets every day of her mundane life. (Mr Rochester) is rude, overbearing, and often a bounder, but these blemishes, however repulsive they may be in real life, can be made in the hands of a skilled novelist extremely attractive to many women.”

How ‘Fluffy’ was the Romance, really?

Hodge makes the case that underneath the entertaining friction and tension of her heroes and heroines lies an abiding principle: the protagonists are maturing through the pages into a rich and full relationship .

 Heyer’s idea of romance never ends with “happily married”.  Many of her characters get married off early in the book.  It is the story of their growing mutual respect and understanding afterwards that interests the writer,  and this must be the feature that kept – and still keeps – millions of readers coming back for more.

Antonia Byatt, in an article in Nova, stated,

” (Heyer) is playing romantic games with the novel of manners. In her world of romanticised anti romanticism … men and women really talk to each other … and plan to spend the rest of their lives together developing the relationships”.

In the Tedettes next post they will look at Georgette Heyer’s writing style.

This book and more about Georgette Heyer are at  AbeBooks.com, Amazon, and BookDepository. Thanks for joining the Teddettes as they explore the Regency world of Georgette Heyer. Next they consider points about Heyer’s methods and style.

AbeBooks. Thousands of booksellers - millions of books.

You are at Mark’s blog called Baffled Bear Books. Mark is a dark coffee tragic and bibliophile as well as the Guardian and blundering typist for Mawson Bear, Ponderer of Baffling Things and one of this bright world’s few published bears.

The Tedette’s Jane Austen Book Club reads: The Private World of Georgette Heyer, by Jane Aiken Hodge

Considered queen of the Regency romance, Georgette Heyer is one of the most beloved historical novelists of our time. As Hodge states in the Foreword of her biography: “She gave her name to a recognisable genre of fiction”.

Thrilled by Jane Austen’s books, the Tedettes looked about for more Regency novels. They’ve now got their paws on Chivers 1984 edition of The Private World of Georgette Heyer

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(From Hodges’ Foreword) “From none of the 51 titles in print when she died would you guess (Heyer) spent the early years of her married life (to Ronald Rougier) in rough camps first in Tanganyika then in Macedonia. But she recognised this for experience she could not use. No heroine of hers would ever sit in a grass hut writing a novel”.

“A best seller all her life without the aid of publicity, Heyer never gave an interview and only answered fan letters herself it they had made an interesting historical point.”

The biographer had access to private papers, correspondence and family archives. Hodge details the research Heyer applied to her period and the skill and craft that went into her characters.  Yet for most of her career, she was dismissed as a light romantic.

Hodge’s overriding theme is well expressed, I think, in this observation: ” If anyone could make the romantic novel respectable it should have been G. Heyer, unacknowledged moralist and stylist extraordinary. It did not happen in her lifetime and she minded, silently .. (yet) .. She gave an immense amount of pleasure to all kinds of people, and must have known she did.”

This book and more about Ms Heyer are at AbeBooks.com, Amazon, and BookDepository. Thanks for joining the Teddettes as they explore the Regency world of Georgette Heyer. Our next post is about the Heyer Heroes.    and you might also like to read about Heyer’s style, researches and writing.

The Tedettes have also read up on Jane Austen of course. You might like to read about Lady Susan and Two Hundred Years of Reading Pleasure.  You can see more of the Tedettes over at Mawson Bear’s own blob, umm, blog.
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You are at Mark’s blog called Baffled Bear Books. Mark is a dark coffee tragic and bibliophile as well as the Guardian and blundering typist for Mawson Bear, Ponderer of Baffling Things and one of this bright world’s few published bears.