After another long hiatus, I’ve taken the dust covers off the Inheritance Books sofa and dusted it down in order to welcome a new guest. (Okay, you got me, there weren’t any dust covers, but I did vacuum the sofa so it’s clean. I found £3.24 hidden down the back too!). Anyway, without further ado, please welcome my fellow Choc Lit novelist, Victoria Cornwall.
Hi Victoria, please make yourself at home. While I get the tea and gingerbread, why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself.
Thank you for inviting me here, Rhoda. I grew up on a farm in Cornwall and still live in the county, which probably doesn’t sound very adventurous to your more globetrotting readers. As a child, I thought it was normal to help muck out the cow’s shed, feed baby lambs with bottles of milk and walk several miles to meet my friends. It was an idyllic childhood and I felt very safe, although it is a miracle I survived it as I nearly drowned on two separate occasions. If it had not been for my mother and school teacher dragging me out of the swimming pools, I would not be here now.
When I left school I trained as a nurse and worked for many years in intensive care, a minor injury unit and later as a health visitor. My drowning experience and nursing career have given me a healthy regard for health and the fragility of life. You won’t find me bungee jumping, skydiving or skirting the Alps in a wing suit.
Following a career change, I finally had the time to write, something I had always wanted to do. My debut novel as a traditionally published author is called The Thief’s Daughter and will be published in January.
Which book have you inherited from a generation above? Why is it special?
I have inherited a love for reading fiction from my mother, but I have only had one book physically passed down to me through the generations. It is an antique bible which came from my husband’s side of the family.
It is large, as you can see from the comparison with the pen next to it, and very heavy. It is a genuine antique; with metal clasps and corner protectors. The cover is heavily embossed and inside there are numerous bright, colourful pictures depicting biblical scenes. In the centre of the bible are a number of pages for the owner to record family names and display portraits. Many have been left blank, but two have handwriting on them. The first, which is titled “Children”, have four names recorded. The second page is titled “Deaths” and, heartbreakingly, two of the children are recorded here too, one dying in 1894 and the other in 1896. It appears they were probably 6 months old and three years old when they died.
The book is beautifully made, but it also has a history and tells a story of heartbreak way beyond the printed words inside. The size and embellishment of the bible depicts the influence and significance Christianity held at the time the deaths were recorded inside. I am sure it would have given the owner some comfort to record their children’s existence for future generations to see. I love the book because it is a relic, a work of art and also a reminder of a different time.
Oh, that is sad. My grandmother used to make a distinction between how many children someone had and how many they raised. It’s very rare to lose a child in infancy now and we take for granted something that is a minor miracle in itself.
Which book would you leave to future generations? Why?
It would have to be Winston Graham’s Poldark series. I read the first six books when I was about seventeen years old. I had watched the original television adaptation of Graham’s novels in the 1970s and instantly fell in love with the story. However, I did not realise the TV series was based on a book series until I met my future mother-in-law and noticed the first Poldark book on a shelf in her home. I wasn’t surprised that she had enjoyed Poldark as she had named one of her children after a character in the books.
As soon as I started to read the first book I was hooked. I loved the characters, but more importantly I adored Graham’s writing style; his detailed descriptions invoked vivid imagery yet remained easy to read. Their standard and storytelling have spoilt me for everything I have read since. In my opinion, there are very few books that meet the same literary standard.
So it is only natural that I would want to pass the series onto the next generation. The first book was originally published in 1945 and has been read by many generations since. I am happy to recommend them and pass my editions on to the next generation, although they are looking rather battered and crumpled now as I have read them so many times.
Excellent choice! I’ve not read any of them (yet) but I watched it on telly – the new version, I mean, with
Mitchell Aidan Turner in it.
Thank you for sharing your favourite books with us Victoria, all the best with you new book. It sounds brilliant.
Victoria’s new book The Thief’s Daughter is published by Choc Lit and available to buy now. You can find out more about Victoria on her website, or chat to her on Twitter (@VickieCornwall), Facebook or stalk her on Instagram.
If you would like to share your Inheritance Books, please contact me on rhodabaxter(at)gmail.com.