Tag Archives: Cross Creek

Books I Have Loved

A book that takes you on a journey is a friend for life. These are books I have loved.

84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff


It began with a letter, written by Helene Hanff in New York, and posted to a bookshop at 84 Charing Cross Road in London. Helene’s witty letters are responded to by the rather stodgy Frank Doel of 84 Charing Cross Road. A relationship that lasts across the ocean and the years. Delightful!

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte


Wuthering Heights was Emily’s only novel, published in 1847 under the pseudonym ‘Ellis Bell’. It was controversial at the time because it challenged strict Victorian ideas regarding religion, morality, and social classes. It is now a classic of English literature and should be read by the fire on a dark evening with a storm raging outside the window.

Cross Creek  by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings


A delightful memoir about the life of Marjorie Kinnan Rawling, author of The Yearling, in the Florida backcountry. Originally published in 1942, Cross Creek has become a classic in modern American literature. It is the story of Marjorie’s experiences in the remote Florida hamlet of Cross Creek. She has a deep-rooted love of the earth, and it is one of my all-time favourite books.

Suite Francaise by Irène Némirovsky


Set during the year that France fell to the Nazis, Suite Francaise first tells the story of a group of Parisians as they flee south; then it follows the inhabitants of a small rural community under occupation. Most of all it is a novel of hope amidst war and one to cherish.

The Camomile Lawn by Mary Wesley 


The first time I read this book I fell in love with the large house and the fragrant camomile lawn that stretched down to the Cornish cliffs. The young characters dazzle with their exhilaration and the older characters have secrets. Mary Wesley paints a  vivid picture of wartime London. She is the most witty writer I have read. It is a book I read at least once a year.

The Jade Peony by Wayson Choy


I discoverd this book and its author this year. The novel features stories told by three siblings, Jook-Liang, Jung-Sum and Sek-Lung or Sekky. Each child tells their own unique story, revealing their personal flaws and differences. It is set in Vancouver’s Chinatown and takes place during the 1930s and 1940s.  I read the book quickly and I now have two other Wayson Choy novels on my to be read pile. The Jade Peony is a wonderful book.


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Filed under Castle of Dreams, Elise McCune, What Elise Wrote

My Writing Journey

The end is in sight! This week I put all my chapters of my WP (work-in-progress) in the order they will be read in the finished novel. A couple of chapters are only a blank page at the moment. I have started to write one of these chapters and while it is only a paragraph it sets the scene. I also edited (again!) other chapters.   I read about Buchi Emecheta who brought up five children as a single mother (she had five children in six years) and left an abusive marriage when she was twenty-two. She held down a job and studied for a degree while writing. I haven’t read any of her books (she has written over twenty) but I intend to search them out; one inspirational person! I find the best way to write is to have a routine: write every day and not just when you can fit it in or feel like it. I was talking to a friend today about research. I recently visited Brisbane, Australia where part of my WIP is set. I walked around the streets and tried to soak up the atmosphere of over seventy years ago. I walked the streets and passed the buildings I have written about. One restaurant I mention in my novel is now in a mall. It helped in only a small way. I prefer to read texts written in the era I am writing about, and letters, and diaries, and books set in the period. I had more sense of atmosphere while researching my next project in the same city. The past was magically alive in the place I visited. But I have to put that project aside for now.

One of my favourite books in the world is Cross Creek by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.

Chapter 18  Spring at the Creek

Here in Florida the seasons move in and out like nuns in soft clothing, making no rustle in their passing. It is common for me at least to fall on a certain kind of sunny day into a sort of amnesia. I think with a start, “What is the time of Year? Where was I yesterday? And is this May or October?”

Because time frightens me, and I see, like a lonely child, the maternal solace of timelessness, I plant only the evergreen shrubs and have no more than can be helped of the deciduous trees around me. All year the orange grove is luminous. The oleanders glisten. The palm trees shed the cold as blandly as the rain. Unless severe frost has struck them, the Turk’s-cap and hibiscus bear red lanterns day in, day out, to light the timid before the dark face of time. Only the pecan trees scattered through the grove shed their leaves in November and stand stripped and shivering until April. Strangers ask in winter, “What are the dead trees in the orange grove?” I bear with the sight of them for the sake of the harvest, When in spring the first feathery leaves appear and the gaunt grayness is misted with green, I draw a secret breath of relief, as though a danger were now over.

Published in 1943 I came by this book in the way of serendipity. On a blank page at the front of the book (I’m sure these pages have names of their own ) the previous owner of this book, Molly Palmer, a lady now passed away, (who came by the book  second-hand herself from The Victoria Lending Library in Ballarat)  has written:

A book I love because her philosophy is mine.

Have a great writing week, Elise


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Filed under Elise McCune, What Elise Wrote