San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
When I read Lissa Evan's completely unputdownable Crooked Heart at the end of last year I did two things: I bought a copy for everyone for Christmas, and I set about trying to secure her as a guest for The Books That Built Me. I'm convinced that you'll love it every bit as much as I do, and I'm also thrilled that it's just been long-listed for the Bailey's Prize.
Crooked Heart is set in and around London during the Blitz and tells the 'odd-couple' story of the unlikely relationship between ten year old evacuee Noel -a precocious 'walking-dictionary', orphaned, raised in wealthy Hampstead by his ex-suffragette godmother - and the very down to earth Vera Sedge who takes him into her shabby St Alban's home more as one of her rather unscrupulous money-making schemes than from a sense of civic duty.
As one might expect from an author with a background in film and television, Evans deft, engaging plotting and vivid evocation of life on the home-front firmly grounds Crooked Heart in its time whilst allowing the friendship between two lost and lonely souls to develop with great warmth and poignancy and it's their need for each other that gives the novel its glorious heart. Critics have likened Evans to Nancy Mitford and Stella Gibbons, and although I think she's a much warmer writer than either of them, she shares their talent for letting a lightly comic surface let a story's innate pathos breathe.
Do join me on 28th April at The Club at Cafe Royal to discover the Books That Built Lissa Evans.
The Books That Built Me is a literary desert island discs - in conversation with blogger and literary hostess Mrs Trefusis, a writer talks about the six books that have inspired and informed their writing life. To learn more, listen a podcast of The Books That Built Me with India Knight or Justine Picardie, on Mrs Trefusis Takes A Taxi (www.mrstrefusis.blogspot.com)
'How the books you love meet the books you write' Sarah Churchwell, author of Careless People; Murder, Mayhem and The Invention of the Great Gatsby.
When & Where
Helen Brocklebank, is the off screen name of writer and Times 100 blogger 'Mrs Trefusis'. Helen worked for many years at Harper's Bazaar and Esquire magazines, and founded The Books That Built Me in April 2014. At The Books That Built Me, Helen interviews authors about the books that inspire their writing, tracing the thread that links the books you read and the books you write.
The Books That Built Me works in partnership with Champagne Bollinger and Harper's Bazaar.
You can find more information about The Books That Built Me on thebooksthatbuiltme.co.uk or by following Helen on twitter or instagram (@mrstrefusis). There is also a Facebook page facebook.com/thebooksthatbuiltme