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Donna Fletcher Crow, Novelist of British History, has written more than 50 books specializing in British Christianity. These books include: The Monastery Murders, clerical mysteries; Lord Danvers Investigates, Victorian true-crime; The Elizabeth and Richard series, literary suspense; and Glastonbury, The Novel of Christian England. She loves research and sharing you-are-there experiences with her readers.

www.donnafletchercrow.com

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Donna Fletcher Crow, Novelist of British History

 

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Donna Fletcher Crow, Novelist of British History

A traveling researcher engages people and places from Britain's past and present, drawing comparisons and contrasts between past and present for today's reader.

Join Me in Great Autumn Reading

By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ October 7, 2020

Autumn is my favorite time of the year—I love the crisp days, the colorful foliage; I love taking walks in crunchy leaves, savoring that special tang to the autumn air; I love celebrating Harvest Festival at church, and handing out candy to our neighborhood spooks for Halloween.

But not this year. Apart from harvest and Halloween parties being locked down due to the Coronavirus, in our area devastating wildfires have turned our sky brown, making eyes water and noses run. Taking long walks—crunchy leaves or not—has become a health hazard. And, it seems we have the best of it. In surrounding states large areas, including people’s homes, are consumed in flames, while other parts of the nation are ripped by hurricanes.

If, like myself, you are missing your normal fall pleasures and escapes. I invite you to read with me as I return to some old favorites that evoke autumns of happier times.

Top of my list is always Jane Austen—in this case, Persuasion, Austen’s last and “most autumnal” novel. Here, Anne Eliot undertakes an autumn stroll: “[P]leasure in the walk must arise from the exercise and the day, from the view of the last smiles of the year upon the tawny leaves, and withered hedges, and from repeating to herself some few of the thousand poetical descriptions extant of autumn, that season of peculiar and inexhaustible influence on the mind of taste and tenderness, that season which had drawn from every poet, worthy of being read, some attempt at description, or some lines of feeling.”

Another long-time favorite is Laurie Lee’s Cider With Rosie. Although it begins in June, we are given a wonderful account of that autumn when the young Lee arrives “at school just three feet tall and fatly wrapped in scarves” by his sisters. A wonderful evocation of by-gone days.

My delight in autumn is exemplified in my own novels as well. The nostalgic The Flame Ignites is set in October of 1984 when the New England hillsides are ablaze with redgold autumn and reflects my love of having lived in New England. My heroine and her cousin go for a rambling drive to buy pumpkins at a roadside stand, then “home with golden afternoon sun filtering through the autumn foliage and scarlet and orange leaves drifting down on them.”

In the opening of my Victorian true crime novel A Most Inconvenient Death, Lord Danvers takes to the sky in his aerostat and arrives at the coming of age party for his old friend’s son skimming “barely above the autumn-bright trees.”

The Arthurian epic Glastonbury depicts Celtic life in Roman Britain during fall-of-the-leaf time: “The evening shadows lengthened, and the golden glow of an autumn sunset spread over the island...  An evening thrush sang, and the harpsong answered it. The flames danced, and the melody swayed with them. Autumn leaves rustled in the trees, and harp notes chased them.”

In my late Regency novel Where Love Restores the characters experience autumn in Cambridge: “The fallen leaves were damp from autumn rains, and a thin mist clung to the ground. Tree branches over their heads took on a delicate beauty as the gray sky gave way to the spreading pink glow of dawn. It would be a fine day... For some moments they stood listening to the tiny rustles and scurries among the leaves and branches—small animals hurrying to gather their autumn food stores before winter.” Later they are drawn into helping villagers with the harvest and join in the traditional feasting.

Perhaps not quite the same as taking my own walk in an autumn-hued woods, but the best way I know to experience the season virtually. Do join me.

 

Disclosure: All above links are paid, that means I earn from anyone purchasing through them

 

 

 

Donna Fletcher Crow, Novelist of British History, has written more than 50 books specializing in British Christianity. These books include: The Monastery Murders, clerical mysteries; Lord Danvers Investigates, Victorian true-crime; The Elizabeth and Richard series, literary suspense; and Glastonbury, The Novel of Christian England. She loves research and sharing you-are-there experiences with her readers.

www.donnafletchercrow.com

Read More: The Writing Life

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Reader Comments:

Delightfully evocative blogpost - and delightfully evocative books as well. I loved the autumnal views in the Flame Ignites.
-Sheila Deeth, October 7, 2020

Thank you, Sheila! And thank you for leaving a comment. How is the autumn where y ou live? Do you get much fall color?
-Donna Fletcher Crow, October 7, 2020

Some trees are just beginning to turn, but nothing much yet. Autumn is usually really pretty once it gets going.
-SheilaDeeth, October 9, 2020

Yes, we're slow here, too--a little color starting. I do love it--even though the skies are still smokey.
-Donna, October 9, 2020

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