I'm fighting off a heavy cold this weekend and today is definitely a duvet day. My two favourite occupations on such days are vegging in front of a classic film (I'm eyeing The Phildelphia Story for this afternoon), and a satisfying but easy read.
My duvet day book of choice today is Stars of Fortune by Cynthia Harnett which was my absolutely favourite book as a child. It had history, the Tudors, manor houses, family trees alongside danger and adventure. It was also fiction based on the lives of real people. A sort of Shardlake for children, and I got the same kind of kick out of it aged 10 that I do out of the Shardlake series now: that combination of a sense of adventure mixed with being transported back in time.
Set during the reign of Queen Mary the Washington children of Sulgrave Manor are our focus and we get drawn into their plans to help save Princess Elizabeth. I loved this. I love the fact that Sulgrave Manor still exists and that one day I might get to visit (the historical post script assures me) though as yet I never have. I love the fact that the family tree at the back shows the Washington family right down to George Washington the American president. I loved the fact that the tree also showed the Spencers of Althorp and when I read it in 1981 this was NEWS. Though the tree did not show it, the family are the ancestors of Lady Diana Spencer who was about to become Princess of Wales.
I also love the fact that the Washington coat of arms lent itself to the flag of the USA. Though I've never managed to visit Sulgrave Manor, I have been to Warton in Lancashire where the the Washington family originate from, and the Church of St Oswald bears the arms.
Other duvet day reads for me include the Jill books by Ruby Ferguson (I know I'm not alone there), Monica Dickens' Follyfoot series, and anything by Georgette Heyer or Agatha Christie. Any other recommendations?