Today I’m delighted to welcome contemporary women’s novelist Mary Grand. Her ‘Porridge & Cream’ read is It Shouldn’t Happen to a Vet by James Herriot.
“My mum introduced me to James Herriot’s books in my early twenties. Fresh out of college I was living in a bedsit in Bethnal Green in London, cycling to work each day through heavy traffic to the school where I was teaching. These books were my escape into a different world, a different time. This was the world of 1930’s rural Yorkshire that was disappearing even as James Herriot wrote about it, although thankfully the hills and dales he describes with such love remain. He tells his stories with humour, charm and honesty; he is not frightened to talk about his mistakes and laugh at himself. When I was taking a picture of my copy of this book I realised this is quite an up to date cover…my early paperbacks have sadly collapsed! “I have read and re read these books throughout my life. In particular, when life has been difficult; after weeks of sleepless nights with babies; when my parents were very ill; when I had to stop work because life temporarily overwhelmed me. Gosh, as I write that list it makes me realise how important this ‘porridge and cream’ book has been for me!
“I have loved all the books in this series. I particularly like the romantic element in It Shouldn’t Happen To A Vet, when he meets his wife Helen. I think the main thing that brings me back to these books is the story telling, the way James Herriot mixes humour with the hard reality of farming in the dales. I have never watched adaptations for film or TV, as I have created my own pictures of the characters and wouldn’t want to spoil that.
“Describe the plot in an elevator pitch: A wonderful memoir from James Herriot, filled with entertaining stories of his work as a young vet in rural Yorkshire in the 1930s.”
Mary Grand’s Bio
I was born in Cardiff and have retained a deep love for my Welsh roots. I now live on the beautiful Isle of Wight with my husband, where I walk my cocker spaniel Pepper and write. I have two grown up children.
Free to Be Tegan was my debut novel. The second Hidden Chapters is set on the spectacular Gower Peninsula, and the third Behind the Smile, published in March 2018, is set on the Isle of Wight. I have also published two short books of short stories Catching the Light and Making Changes.
Mary Grand’s latest book
Behind the Smile is the story of Lowri , who, alone and pregnant, agrees to ‘settle’ with estranged husband, Jack, and move to idyllic village the Isle of Wight. She is befriended by Heather, the popular café owner and Carina, the beautiful Italian wife of the owner of Elmstone manor. Both appear to Lowri to have perfect lives. However, Lowri slowly discovers that, behind the smiles, lie secrets, addiction and an obsession which threatens to destroy them all.
What is a ‘Porridge & Cream’ book? It’s the book you turn to when you need a familiar read, when you are tired, ill, or out-of-sorts, where you know the story and love it. Where reading it is like slipping on your oldest, scruffiest slippers after walking for miles. Where does the name ‘Porridge & Cream’ come from? Cat Deerborn is a character in Susan Hill’s ‘Simon Serrailler’ detective series. Cat is a hard-worked GP, a widow with two children and she struggles from day-to-day. One night, after a particularly difficult day, she needs something familiar to read. From her bookshelf she selects ‘Love in A Cold Climate’by Nancy Mitford. Do you have a favourite read which you return to again and again? If so, please send me a message.
Discover the ‘Porridge & Cream’ books of these authors:-
Carol Cooper loves ‘Please Don’t Eat the Daisies’ by Jean Kerr
Tracey Sinclair chooses ‘Dangerous Liaisons’ by Choderlos de Laclos
JG Harlond re-reads ‘Race of Scorpions’ by Dorothy Dunnett
And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Why does @authormaryg re-read IT SHOULDN’T HAPPEN TO A VET by James Herriot #books https://wp.me/p5gEM4-3yI via @SandraDanby