Inheritance Books: Sam Russell

Children Reading by Valerie Everett

Today on the Inheritance Books sofa, we have Sam Russell. Hi Sam, make yourself at home. Why don’t you start off by telling us a bit about yourself?

IMG_8576I was born in London but grew up in a rural Essex village, with the freedom to run free. Idyllic childhood is a cliché, but it was absolutely that – an Enid Blyton adventure with a gaggle of village children beside me, and I have no doubt that it was our outdoor life which fostered my love of the countryside.

As an adult I trained and worked as a riding instructor. I lived overseas for a while, then came home and married a farmer. Thirty-two years later and we’re still farming together. Our three children have grown up and moved out of the farmhouse now but we’ve still got the dogs, a geriatric cat and an aged pony in the paddock. (I watch him through the window when I’m writing.)


Which book have you inherited from a generation above? Why is it special?

DSC_0810My special, inherited book is The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge. I adored this book as a child. My mum bought it for me. She was, and still is, a genius at finding exactly the right book for the moment. The story of Maria enchanted me and Elizabeth Goudge gifted a magical world where all my passions combined: A plucky heroine, adventure, wonderful characters and a pony thrown in for good measure! There might be a theme developing here…

The copy shown in the picture is actually an exact replacement of the book I originally owned. The original having been eaten by a Welsh goat many years ago! My favourite books travelled with me when I was a kid, and on a family holiday I stacked them on a shelf next to the window. That pesky goat stuck his head through the window and ate the lot! I was inconsolable! We didn’t have a lot of money going spare back then, but Mum sourced and replaced every single book in that goat-chewed collection and I treasure them all to this day.

Which book would you leave for future generations? Why?

DSC_0811It’s so much harder to decide which book I would leave for future generations. Fiction is so personal, and there are too many brilliant titles to choose from. I considered bequeathing the volumes of Maya Angelou’s autobiography, for the sheer inspiration of her joy and talent in the face of adversity, but then I noticed the books I’d kept since my children were babies, and nostalgia won the day.

Once There Were Giants by Martin Waddell and Penny Dale is an exquisite children’s book. Holding it in my hands again takes me straight back to curling up with a little person and reading bedtime stories. And that little person is completely absorbed. It was ‘the book of the moment’, because it told the story of their lives, with warm illustrations and sympathetic words:

I would like to think that Once There Were Giants will pass to my grandchildren when the time comes, and that it will give them the same pleasure it gave to my children.

Maybe I’ll be lucky, and I’ll be the grandma with DSC_0809a little person curled on my lap absorbed in the story, because what I would most like to leave to future generations is the absolute joy of reading. (Amen to that! R)

The copy in the photography is worn and water-curled. I believe it survived the bath!

Thank you for sharing your favourite books with us, Sam. Best of luck with The Bed of Brambles.

A Bed of Brambles Cover MEDIUM WEBSam’s latest book The Bed of Brambles is available to buy now. You can find out more about Sam on her website or meet up with her on Facebook or Twitter.



Inheritance Books: Carolyn Hughes

Children Reading by Valerie Everett

This week’s guest on the Inheritance Books sofa is history buff Carolyn Hughes. Welcome to Inheritance Books Carolyn, make yourself comfortable. While I put the kettle on, why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself.

carolyn-publicityI’ve come to writing, or rather publishing, quite late in life. I’ve written creatively on and off all my adult life but, for many years, work and family were somehow always the main focus of my life, and it wasn’t until our children flew the nest that I realised writing could now take centre stage.

Even then, although I wrote some short stories, and one and a half contemporary women’s novels, my writing was rather ad hoc, and my tentative attempts to approach agents met only with rejection. Thinking that a Masters degree in Creative Writing might give me more focus, I enrolled at Portsmouth University. It worked! I wrote the historical novel that is now published as Fortune’s Wheel.

Why an historical novel? Well, when I had to choose what to write as the creative piece for the MA, I mostly just wanted a change from the contemporary women’s fiction I had been writing. But the choice I made was somewhat serendipitous… In my twenties, I’d written about 10,000 words of a novel set in fourteenth century England. By chance, I rediscovered the fading, handwritten, draft languishing in a box of old scribblings. Although, to be frank, the novel’s plot (and the writing!) was pretty dire, I was drawn to its period and setting. The discovery gave me one of those light bulb moments and, a few days later, I was drafting an outline for the novel that is now Fortune’s Wheel.

It was true that I’d long been intrigued by the mediaeval period, for its relative remoteness in time and understanding, and, I think, for the very dichotomy between the present-day perception of the Middle Ages as “nasty, brutish and short” and the wonders of the period’s art, architecture and literature. I wanted to know more about the period, and, through writing an historical novel, I’d have the opportunity both to discover the mediaeval past and to interpret it, to bring both learning and imagination to my writing.

Having written Fortune’s Wheel, I’d enjoyed being back at university so much that I decided to read for a PhD at the University of Southampton, and the result was another historical novel, as yet unpublished, The Nature of Things. By then, the historical fiction bug had well and truly bitten me. I soon realised that I had more stories to tell about the world I’d created for Fortune’s Wheel – a fictional manor, called Meonbridge, situated in Hampshire’s Meon Valley – and I started to plan a series of sequels. So, when Fortune’s Wheel was published last November, it was as the first of “The Meonbridge Chronicles”. I hope that the second will be published later in 2017.


Which book have you inherited from the generation above?

What an interesting question. I assume the thought behind it is to tease out possible img_1357_1influences on my writing life? (That is, indeed, the intention! – RB) However, in trying to find an answer, I realised that I couldn’t recall either of my parents (or their siblings) ever reading, or encouraging me to read, fiction! We certainly had books in the house, but, apart from the usual run of children’s books (Enid Blyton, Grimms’ Fairy Tales, Hans Andersen…), they were mostly reference (although, as a child, I would pore over them avidly for hours). But there was no Plaidy or Seton to inspire a love of historical fiction!

So what special book might I say my forebears passed down to me? I’ll choose one that perhaps inspired my love of history: This Land of Kings 1066-1399. A children’s book, published in the 50s, with bright illustrations, it was a school prize – I was nine – attained for “Progress”! As it covers the Middle Ages, perhaps, long ago as it was, it sowed the seed that grew into Fortune’s Wheel?


Which book might you like to leave to the next generation?

img_1358I will take “next generation” to be my children, one boy, one girl – both very much adults now. I think I will leave them a “history book” too, one that has more recently inspired my plunge into writing historical fiction. I have a facsimile of The Luttrell Psalter, a wonderful fourteenth century religious tome that is full of illustrations of medieval life. I love it, and I’d like to think my children would love it too, knowing how much it has meant to me these past few years…




Thank you for sharing your favourite books with us, Carolyn. All the best with Fortune’s Wheel.

9781781325827-300dpi-cmykCarolyn’s book Fortune’s Wheel is available to buy now. You can find out more about Carolyn on her website, Facebook (CarolynHughesAuthor) or Twitter (@writingcalliope)




Would you like to share your own Inheritance Books? Email me or mention it in the comments.



Inheritance Books: Annmarie McQueen

This week’s Inheritance Books come from blogger and YA author Annmarie McQueen. Take a seat, Annmarie. While I put the kettle on, why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself. 

H20161013_201557i, I’m Annmarie. I’m a 22 year old writer, blogger and photographer living in London. I enjoy instagramming food, taking selfies with dogs I meet and being that annoying friend who always has a camera to hand. I currently work in event marketing. I’m a graduate of Warwick University with a BA in English/Creative writing and an MA in cultural policy. I also really love tea. I currently have 18 different types of tea in my room and I’m immensely proud of this fact.

Yay, tea! Which book have you inherited from a generation above? Why is it special?

The book that I’ve inherited that I would like to shine a spotlight on today is ‘Northern Lights’ by Phillip Pullman. Published in 1995, it’s a YA fantasy classic that deals with a whole range of fascinating themes including freedom, destiny, religion and childhood innocence. This book was first given to me by my dad, and since then I’ve read it many times over.15940513_10154945598084451_7491591450245079483_n

I love the gothic feel to the book, the fact that it’s unafraid to deal with dark themes and the stunning descriptions of the fantasy world it’s set in. I also found the ‘Adam & Eve’ allegory and the biblical references really interesting. Though I’m not religious myself, I liked how cleverly religious ideas were subtly entwined in a story set in an alternate universe. It just gave it a whole other dimension that really made it stand out from any other children’s book at the time.

Also, I loved the daemons. I used to wish desperately that daemons were real when I was younger, thinking I’d never be lonely again if I had one. I used to imagine mine would be some kind of wolf.

Which book which you leave for generations below you? Why?

The second book I’ve chosen is one I would like to pass on to future generations. I’ve picked ‘Boys don’t cry’ by Mallory Blackman for this one. Though I’ve only recently finished reading it, I was completely blown away by this book and thought that the message it carried was so relevant to society right now.

p1260733The story follows Dante, who’s about to go off to College, until his old ex-girlfriend shows up with no warning, tells him he’s a daddy and then leaves the baby with him. Dante, with the support of his dad and younger brother Adam, must figure out how to adjust to this sudden turn of events and deal with this huge change in his life.

I find it so rare to find a book that deals so well with relationships between men. At times hilarious, at times heartbreaking, Blackman does a fantastic job of completely breaking down gender stereotypes and examining what it means to ‘be a man’ in this society. It’s such a controversial and difficult subject to get right, especially without sounding preachy, but Dante is an incredibly relatable and likeable character. Not only that, the story is thought-provoking and deals with other stigmatised issues such as sexuality and mental health without trying to sugar-coat or romanticise them.

In a society where people are expected to conform to certain social roles and repress who they really are, where being violent and aggressive is considered to be ‘masculine’, I think a book like this should be taught in secondary schools. Literature and story-telling is a powerful way of changing social norms and spreading new ideas. It’s a way of fighting back against injustice without actually causing conflict.

Fabulous choices. I loved Malorie Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses series.

Thank you for sharing your favourite books with us Annmarie. Good luck with your own book.

pieces-2Annmarie’s book This Really Happened is available now. You can find out more about Annmarie on her website or chat to her on Twitter (@Annmarie_writer).

Inheritance Books: Rachel Cathan

Children Reading by Valerie Everett

Today on the Inheritance Books sofa we have Rachel Cathan. Hi Rachel, grab a seat. While I get teas and cake, why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself?

author-pic-1Hi Rhoda, thanks for the invite; it’s a real treat to be here. [It’s a treat to have you here.] 

I am a writer from Bedfordshire and have recently published my first book, 336 Hours.

I’ve loved books for as long as I can remember and have always tried to weave them into my personal and professional life wherever possible.

I studied Writing and Publishing at university and began my early career in publishing before moving into wider communications-based roles in my twenties and thirties. In terms of my personal writing, I’ve started many books over the years, but 336 Hours is the first one to reach completion. I guess the subject matter, and its connection to an intense period in my own life, gave me the focus I needed to see this one through.
I lived in London for many years but recently moved around ten minutes away from my childhood home, where I live with my husband, two small children and a cantankerous elderly cat. Alongside writing, I am currently training to be a counsellor.


Which book have you inherited from the generation above? Why is it special?

I probably need to begin by explaining that my dad was an avid book collector, and by ‘avid’ I mean that we needed to have a loft conversion when I was a teenager so that he could bring some order to what had effectively become a small library.

threemenWhen I was young, my dad and I used to set out on ‘book hunts’ (this was long before the days of Amazon!), searching for an elusive Little Miss or Meg and Mog title that was missing from our collection.
A little later, like most children of my generation, I became a devoted Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake fan, and I will always treasure the signed copies of their books that my dad has passed down to me. He even wrote to Quentin Blake to ask if he might draw a picture of me with my pet hamster for my tenth birthday. The illustration sent in response is still framed on the wall of my mum’s living room. It’s a wonderful illustration, not only in its own right, but also of the life lesson: Ask; you might just get!
It’s difficult to single out just one book from this extensive back-catalogue of inherited books, but if I had to pick one it would be Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome.  I must have been seventeen or eighteen when I read it for the first time, and I remember my dad handing it to me with the words: ‘You’ll like this. It’s funny’. My teenage self was skeptical on both counts. It was written in 1889; was I really going to like it and find it funny? Could I even admit it if I did?

Almost twenty years later I still laugh out loud if certain sections of that book enter my head. It is a bottomless tonic that can brighten the dullest of days. And another important life lesson: that good writing and good comedy are timeless and will connect with a human of any background and age.
Now, fast approaching the age of thirty-eight, with two small children to run around after, I am reminded of this book often, as I shake my legs back to life after extended periods spent scrunched up on the floor, and wonder if I might in fact be developing housemaid’s knee!

Funnily enough, I’ve just been given a copy of this book by a friend who was horrified that I hadn’t read it! It’s on my TBR pile.


Which book would you like to leave to future generations? Why? 


A difficult question to answer, but I’m going to say Life of Pi by Yann Martel. Whilst I have lifeofpifallen in love with hundreds of books in my lifetime, I am usually hard-pushed to remember much of their content when I look back upon them years later. This one I remember in incredible detail; it captivated me in a way that I wasn’t expecting. I love the stunningly dramatic setting of the story, taking the protagonist from a zoo in Pondicherry, to the vast Indian ocean, where he drifts, hopeless, aboard a small lifeboat with only a Bengal tiger for company. And I love the themes explored: human endurance, ingenuity, hope, and the desire within all of us to believe in the unbelievable. The final paragraph moves me to tears of joy just thinking about it now.

I look forward to passing my copy to my children, and I suspect they will fall in love with it just as I did.  

I’ve searched high and low for Life of Pi, but typically can’t put my hands on it now I need it – so I’ve improvised with a few toys I found in the playroom…

I love your improvised picture. I also love Life of Pi… and Lego (Duplo counts).

Thank you so much for sharing your favourite books with us Rachel. All the very best with your book!



Rachel’s book 336 hours is available to buy now. You can find out more about Rachel by visiting her website, Facebook page or chatting to her on Twitter (@rachelcathan). 

Inheritance Books: Linda Acaster

Children Reading by Valerie Everett

This week’s guest on Inheritance Books is the romance/ fantasy writer Linda Acaster. We both live in Hull/East Riding, so we run into each other from time to time. Hi Linda. Welcome to Inheritance Books. I’ll go put the kettle on for a cuppa, while you make yourself comfy on the sofa. Why don’t you start off by telling us a bit about yourself.

Oooh, I love comfy cushions. I think it comes with crouching over a hot laptop too long – LOL!la-b4x5-100dpi

I live on the Yorkshire coast just outside Kingston-upon-Hull where I was born – UK City of Culture 2017, no less. There’s a depth of history there that you really have to hunt for as it does
n’t wear its past as overtly as some cities. The old street names are wonderful.
Dagger Lane. Land of Green Ginger. Whitefriargate.

(I love that there’s a building called ‘The second star to the right and straight on till morning’ in Land of Green Ginger. Now that is a special address).

The meaning of these piqued my interest in my mid teens, but my love of history began when I was eleven and moved schools to one newly built. The playing fields were still being levelled and a bulldozer uncovered a Celtic settlement. I watched the archaeological dig from my desk by a first storey window. As one of my characters in the Torc of Moonlight trilogy maintains, there’s no such thing as coincidence. For me, it was the spark that lit the touch-paper.

By twenty I was selling short fiction, sometimes for money, sometimes for the kudos of holding a magazine carrying my by-line, hence the appeal of multiple genres: historical to horror, crime to science fiction and fantasy. A Western romance won me a national award; a historical romance handed me my first book contract. However, the shelf-life of paperbacks is transitory, and I realised that good sales didn’t automatically equate to reprints. When my rights reverted I sat on them, and when the ebook revolution finally pushed into the UK I became an indie author. And have never looked back.


Which book have you inherited from a generation above?

swallows-amazonsArthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons (1930), which was never actually mine but loaned to me. I was in my early teens and at school was being force-fed 19th century classics written for adults [rolls eyes]. The book was a godsend of an antidote. It made not a jot of difference that the children in Ransome’s novel lived a more affluent lifestyle from a by-gone era, I was there because the writing pulled me in to experience the adventure. I also learned about boats, and rural life in the Lake District at the time. The novel was dutifully returned to its owner, and I never read the rest in the series, but the memory of this book has stayed with me throughout my adult life. I like to think that it is with this story the notion of a reader being able to learn from a novel while being entertained lodged in my mind. Or perhaps that’s just rosy-viewed hindsight.


Which book would you like to leave to future generations?

mythagowoodMythago Wood (1984) by the late Robert Holdstock. The story has an inter-generational feel: a son returning from WW2 to a quintessential English village in Hertfordshire, to a quaint family home beside a wood, the young man wanting to make sense of the obsessive writings of his father who died while he was away. So far so normal. However, the wood, which can be walked round with ease but not crossed due its impenetrable depths, is a remnant of British primeval forest and it both acts as custodian and nurtures the folklore and extinct animals of these isles. There is no magic, only Nature.

It is a wonderfully rich book, in historical content and conjecture, in the spell-binding use of rhythm and language which clothes what we feel we might know of our past, or have half-heard, into the flesh and blood of an alternative reality that is bound in our DNA. It is a novel for those who marvel at the dappled shadows during a weekend woodland walk, or come across a lonely tumulus and wonder when and for whom it was raised. Or hear an animal’s call but never see the animal. It is Fantasy for the mainstream.

That sounds like a wonderful book!

Thank you for sharing your favourite books with us Linda. Best of luck with your latest book!


Linda’s book, A Torc of Moonlight, is available on Amazon. You can find out more about Linda on her website and get in touch with her via Twitter or Facebook.




If you would like to share your Inheritance Books, please contact me on rhodabaxter(at)

Inheritance Books: April Taylor

This week’s guest on the Inheritance Books sofa is librarian/ information ninja and novelist April Taylor. Hi April. Can I get you a cuppa? While you’re waiting, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?

avril-portrait_0004-with-books-2-copyHaving worked in public libraries, a prison library and a pharmaceutical research library, I gave up my career as a chartered librarian in 2003, so that I could write full time. I have always loved crime fiction, both historical and contemporary. The three books in my historical crime fantasy series, The Tudor Enigma were published by Harlequin/Carina. My contemporary detective is an early-music soprano, Georgia Pattison. The books I write denote my passions. For history, for magic, for singing and music in general and for all things crime related. I moved from Yorkshire to Lincolnshire in the UK in 2015 and find I have come to a county so full of history it is like a treasure trove waiting to be discovered. I live in a Victorian cottage in the middle of nowhere with my patient husband and my less-than-patient blind, rescue, golden retriever. I am known locally as the lady who is the guide for the blind dog! I spend most of my time writing, but now have to schedule gardening time, too.


Which book have you inherited from a generation above you? Why is it special?

I inherited Ammie Come Home by Barbara Michaels from my mother. It is a poor battered thing that has travelled with me through about ten house moves, but as the years have gone by I realise I inherited my passion for crime and history from Mum. Ammie contains all the elements we both loved, a mystery, some history and with the added element of the supernatural. Mum was psychic although it was not a part of her that she developed; it was something that fascinated her. I read Ammie about once a year; it brings Mum close and is a treasured possession. The book follows Ruth Bennett’s life when her niece, Sara, comes to live with her in Georgetown, Washington, how Sara is the conduit to call the spirit of frightened forlorn Amanda Campbell from her time in the American Civil War and into the 20th century she reveals a terrible crime. Written in 1969, Ammie is still a fine piece of atmospheric writing with a wonderful sense of period and incredible storytelling.


That sounds intriguing. Which book would you leave to generations below you? Why?

The book I would like to leave to future generations is Simon Thurley’s enormous book on Hampton Court Palace. Most people associate this most iconic of buildings with Henry VIII, but the book covers the whole of its history from its time as a house of the Knights Hospitallers through to the present day. It includes architectural changes made by the various monarchs and how the gardens developed in each reign. I am a firm believer that unless we know where we have come from, we cannot plan where we are going. If we look at history, how often does it repeat itself? How often do we make mistakes our forebears made but which we have ignored? During WW2, Winston Churchill once told the actor David Niven that something momentous was about to happen. When Niven asked how he knew, Churchill replied, “Because, young man, I study history.”

Thank you so much for sharing your favourite books with us April. Best of luck with your latest book!drs-small

You can find out more about April on her website, on Facebook or by chatting to her on Twitter (@authapriltaylor. You can buy her latest book, Dearly Ransomed Soul on Amazon and other ebook retailers.



If you would like to share your Inheritance Books, please contact me on rhodabaxter(at)

Inheritance Books: Chrissie Bradshaw

This week’s Inheritance Books come from romance author Chrissie Bradshaw. Hi Chrissie, welcome to Inheritance Books. Please take a seat. While I make the tea, why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself.

img_2468I live beside the Northumbrian coast with my family and love taking my Welsh terrier,Oscar, for a daily run along the seashore. My other feel good essentials are tea, chocolate and a good book. A career in education, as a teacher then as a literary consultant, has given me the chance to share my passion for reading with young people. I believe that there are books to suit every taste and love match-making a book with a reader. That’s why I think your ‘inheritance’ slot is such a good idea! This year has been an exciting one because I won the Elizabeth Goudge award 2016 from the RNA and published my first novel A Jarful of Moondreams. It is available as a paperback or ebook.

How cool, well done you! You’ll be getting your name added to all the famous ones on the Elizabeth Goudge trophy. 


Which book have you inherited from a generation above? Why is it special?

Ifullsizerender-2 Capture the Castle was published in 1948 by Dodie Smith, before I was born, but the characters still seem fresh today. I first read Dodie Smith’s The 101 Dalmations, as a child but wasn’t given I Capture the Castle until I was an adult. It’s a book I treasure because Cassandra is, like me, a secret scribbler and her observations capture her castle environment and its inhabitants vividly. I’d pass this book to teens or adults because Cassandra’s teenage concerns are still relatable to other generations.

Cassie’s voice is engaging from start to finish, I love it from the first sentence to the last and both of those sentences are memorable. I won’t spoil it by quoting the last sentence but I can share the first. She starts with ‘I write this sitting in the kitchen sink….’ Why? How did you get in there? Who are you? Where are you? I’m hooked.

I usually like a novel with a resolution and I Capture the Castle has an unresolved ending yet it still remains a satisfying read. Cassandra Mortmain and her cast of characters are both complex and entertaining and, as a reader, I was totally involved in castle life and cared about what would happen to her troubled father, her moody beautiful sister, the eccentric Topaz and hardworking handsome Stephen and wanted the American Brothers, Simon and Neil, to come to the rescue in some way.
It’s a book I’ll pass on to my niece and granddaughters and I‘m sure they’ll be enthralled as I am by the Mortmain family.


That’s an excellent book. Which book would you leave to future generations? Why?

fullsizerenderMy sister recommended Still Alice by Lisa Genova and the story haunts me..
Alice Howland is a Harvard professor who discovers she has early-onset dementia. She tells her story for as long as she can tell it.
Alice starts out with a successful career, a husband and three grown children. When she first begins to grow forgetful, she dismisses it but eventually, when she gets lost in her own familiar neighbourhood, she realises that something is wrong. She is only 50 years old. As she loses her memory, will she lose herself? Alice has to learn to live in the moment but she is still Alice. This addresses one of my worst nightmares and Alice’s story helped me to discover and come to some understanding of the illness. I’m glad I read it and I hope future generations come to read it with the comfort of knowing Alzheimer’s disease has since become a treatable condition.

I also identify with Lisa Genova’s struggle to get this novel published. She self published in the end and, when the novel became a best-seller, she was accepted by a mainstream publisher and her novel was made into a film. Now who wouldn’t love to follow in those footsteps?

Who indeed. Thank you for sharing your favourite books with us, Chrissie. All the best with your latest book.


Chrissie’s book A Jarful of Moonbeams is available in ebook and print on Amazon. You can catch up with Chrissie on her blog, on Facebook or on Twitter@Chrissiebeee (3 eees).  



Would you would like to share your own Inheritance Books? Just email me on rhodabaxter(at)!

Inheritance Books: Victoria Cornwall

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.

victoria-cornwall-author-photoThank 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.inherited-book

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.

the-thiefs-daughterVictoria’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)

Inheritance Books: Ellie Gray

Children Reading by Valerie Everett

This week on the Inheritance Books sofa, we have romance novelist and fellow East Riding lass, Ellie Gray. I have cake. I’ll go put the kettle on and locate the cake. While I’m doing that, why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself, Ellie.

Ellie Gray Profile PicI live in a small village just outside the beautiful market town of Beverley in the East Riding of Yorkshire. It’s only about ten miles away from where I grew up, living in a little cottage on the edge of woods where my father was the woodman and my mum a nurse. My two brothers and I spent a halcyon childhood exploring those woods, building dens and having adventures. Come to think of it, perhaps that’s why I loved Enid Blyton books so much – maybe I felt we were somehow living one of those adventure novels in some small way.

I’ve always loved reading and, to some extent, I’ve always written stories – I kept them in my head when I was younger but, oh they were so very detailed. It was only later, in my teenage years, that it occurred to me to write them down. My first full novel (if it can be called that, as it is unlikely to ever see the light of day) was written when I was about 18 years old. Since then I’ve written quite a few (again, maybe best kept hidden in that drawer) but my first ever published novel, Beauty and the Recluse, was released earlier this year, swiftly followed by my second, Love on the Nile.

I work full-time for the local authority and, having just completed a Masters Degree, am now concentrating hard on producing my third novel. The ultimate aim, of course, is to one day be able to write full time.

Ha! I know exactly what you mean about first books. Mine will never see the light of day either.


Which book have you inherited from a generation above? Why is it special? 

IMG_1668Sax Rohmer’s Tales of Secret Egypt. This book wasn’t passed down to me as such but my dad found it during one of his many forays into old, hidden second hand bookshops and bought it for me, knowing how fascinated I was by anything to do with Ancient Egypt. I inherited my father’s love of both books and history and, since he passed away, I often think back to my childhood, where Dad and I would spend hours wandering around castles and museums, my mum and my brothers waiting impatiently for us in the carpark or café! This book reminds me of my dad and our shared love of reading.


Which book would you leave to future generations? Why?

IMG_1669My daughter has not inherited my love of books or of reading, although she has inherited my creative side but expresses hers through art. My son, however, has inherited my passion for books and is an avid reader. JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings Trilogy is the one I would like them to inherit. It might seem like an obvious or over-used choice, but the reason I would like them to inherit is more to do with the ethos of the book and the story, of good triumphing over evil, of the message that ‘even the smallest person can change the  course of the future’. It’s a message I feel very strongly about.

Brilliant choices! Thank you for sharing your favourite books with us, Ellie. Best of luck with your new book. 

LoveOnTheNilebyEllieGray-500You can buy Ellie’s book Love On The Nile from all good ebook retailers. You can find out more about Ellie on her website, Facebook or Pinterest. Or you could chat to her on Twitter (@elliegray58)






Would you like to share your Inheritance Books with us? If so, please drop me a line – either in the comments or by email.