Today I’m delighted to welcome contemporary novelist Laura Wilkinson.
Her ‘Porridge & Cream’ read is the classic The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. “It’s so long ago I cannot recall with any degree of accuracy when I first read The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The crumbling copy, pictured with my newer edition, was always around; it was my grandmother’s, then my mother’s. I was fascinated by the colour plates scattered throughout and would stare at them long before I could read the words. My hunch is that I was eight or nine – certainly during a period when I devoured Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers series! Whilst I forgot Blyton’s characters and plots almost instantly, Mary Lennox, Colin and Dickon have stayed close.
An angry, lonely orphan is sent to live in a remote manor with a walled, prohibited, garden. The garden is the catalyst for her transformation, and in cahoots with a local boy she uncovers the secret not only of the garden but of the crying which wakes her every night. The story resonated then and still does. Each time I find something new to admire. I turn to it when I need to be reminded that the world is a beautiful place where love and nature can cure our ills. I’ve re-read it after I’ve recommended it and I’ve picked it up when I simply cannot decide what to read next.
It’s the character of sour, sickly Mary Lennox and her journey that draws me time and again. She’s portrayed as a horrid little minx initially but I always feel so sorry for her – abandoned and forgotten in that house in India full of death. And the story reminds me of how much time I spent roaming around outdoors as a child – no adults in sight – and how much I learnt that way. It saddens me that my children don’t have that experience; the world has changed. But stories don’t: a great story is always a great story.”
Laura Wilkinson’s Bio
After time as a journalist and copywriter now Laura writes stories. She has published five novels for adults (two under a pseudonym), with a sixth out in June and numerous short stories. Public Battles, Private Wars, was a Welsh Books Council Book of the month; Redemption Song was a Kindle top twenty. The Family Line is a family drama set in the near future, looking at identity and parenting. ‘It will haunt your dreams’ Books at Broadway. Her latest is Skin Deep. Alongside writing, she works as an editor & mentor for literary consultancies and runs workshops. She’s spoken at festivals and events nationwide, including London Metropolitan University, GladLit, University of Kingston, The Women’s Library and Museum in Docklands.
Laura Wilkinson’s books
In Skin Deep, former model and art student Diana has always been admired for her beauty but what use are good looks when you want to shine for your talent? Insecure and desperate for inspiration, Diana needs a muse. Facially disfigured four-year-old Cal lives a life largely hidden from the world. But he was born to be looked at and he needs love too. A chance encounter changes everything; Cal becomes Diana’s muse. But as Diana’s reputation develops and Cal grows up, their relationship implodes. Both struggle to be accepted for what lies within. Is it possible to find acceptance in a society where what’s on the outside counts for so much?
Read my review of Skin Deep.
‘Skin Deep’ by Laura Wilkinson [UK: Accent Press]
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 via the contact form here.
‘The Secret Garden’ by Frances Hodgson Burnett [UK: Macmillan]
And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Why does @ScorpioScribble love THE SECRET GARDEN by Frances Hodgson Burnett? via @SandraDanby #amreading http://wp.me/p5gEM4-2uu