The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne
Long ago before we had discovered that he had fathered two children by two different women, one in Drimoleague and one in Clonakilty, Father James Monroe stood on the altar of the Church of Our Lady, Star of the Sea, in the parish of Goleen, West Cork, and denounced my mother as a whore.
The Bookseller’s Ghost by Sharon Bradshaw
On a crisp morning when old Father Winter was nipping noses and fingertips until they ached, a shadow flitted across the narrow passage between the buildings.
Pride and Prejudice (1995 TV series via Stan) and Pride & Prejudice (2005 film via Stan) The 1995 TV series with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth is as faithful an adaptation as is possible and captures perfectly Jane Austen’s wit and insight. The setting and costumes are stunning. Ehle and Firth’s acting is nuanced relying as much on expression – a twitch of the lips, a lift of the eyebrow – as words and poses. The 2005 film with Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen I am less enamoured of. It is set a decade or two earlier, in the 1790s, I suspect, and while the world is not pristine Regency, I do believe people then knew how to use a comb. The running of the household seems to owe something to Sir Pitt Crawley in Vanity Fair too. (Pigs wandering through the house – pass the smelling salts!) Perhaps I would have enjoyed the film more if I had watched it before the TV series which was still fresh in my mind.
The Crown – Season 5 (Netflix 2022) Inspired by real life? Entertaining, possibly cruel, soap.
Mrs Harris goes to Paris (2022 Cinema) This film starring Lesley Manville is based on the novella Mrs ’Arris goes to Paris by Paul Gallico, which I have not read yet. It is essentially a wonderful fairy tale about a hard-working widowed cleaning lady in 1950s London who dreams of owning a Dior gown. The book was written 1959 and I suspect some elements have been updated to fit the sensibilities of 2020s audiences but it doesn’t matter as this is heartwarming escapism.