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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.

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Christmas Shopping for Booklovers: New Releases, Jane Austen, Kishanda Fulford and More

By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ December 8, 2023

It should be easy, shouldn’t it? Everyone knows books make great gifts, so that should be all you need to know for your friend who loves to read. Right?

Wrong. Choosing the right gift for a booklover can be one of the trickiest challenges of the season.

As Oliver Darkshire warns in his delightful book Once Upon a Tome, The Misadventures of a Rare Bookseller: “Purchasing a book for someone isn’t like running to the shop and picking up a box of decorative soaps, or a bottle of wine. You can’t just take a stab in the dark and hope for the best. In the best-case scenario, a well-chosen book shows just how intimately you know a person, their interests, their politics…their very sense of self. In the worst case, it can show that you barely have any interest in who they are.”

Of course, one concern in choosing a gift for an avid reader is finding a book they haven't already read. Fortunately, I have a new title out this month, so I have a ready offering I know my friends won’t have read yet.  Going There, Tales from the Riviera and Beyond even offers a special full-color, hardback gift edition for the special someone who loves to travel, likes mystery stories, and and perhaps just happens to be a Francophile.In the summer of 2021 amidst a world-wide pandemic, my daughter-in-law, granddaughter, and I managed to slip through a narrow window of calm for a remarkable journey to France and Switzerland. And much to my surprise and delight, I discovered that characters from several of my novel series tagged along and had adventures of their own. Going There, Tales from the Riviera and Beyond, is an account of a memorable travel experience in the real world and the fictional which will sweep you to places physical and imaginary, and like all good books, will expand your universe.

For those who love history I also have a special collection of Christmas short stories based on scenes from my various historical series: A Lighted Lamp, Scenes of Christmas Through TimeIn all times and in all places, it has been universal to humankind to mark the darkest days of the year with a festival striving for the coming of the light. In our own culture, many of us call our midwinter festival Christmas—that great season that celebrates not merely light, but the coming of the Light of the World.

Covering almost a thousand years of history, these scenes take the reader to: Saxon Scotland, Medieval England, Post-Regency England, Pioneer America, Depression Era America, 1970s America, and a contemporary monastery in England. Customs have changed, struggles have varied, but one constant has remained—the season has never failed to bring hope and joy.

For those who love history and true stories of strong women Kishanda Fulford’s extensively researched book The Spite of Fortune, is an account of her husband’s ancestress, the intrepid 18th-Century Heiress Louisa Carolina Colleton. The life of the indomitable Louisa would make the heroine of any Gothic novel pale:  Numerous Atlantic crossings under unthinkable conditions--unchaperoned; beset by tornado; stranded without rations for months; taken by a French privateer… And yet she survived and persevered. 

And for the Jane Austen lovers on your list, especially those fans of the wonderful Sanditon television series, there is Sanditon, as rewritten by Kate Riorden with a foreword by Andrew Davies for the television version. Based on the fragment left at Austen’s death, this is a version of the unfinished masterpiece which many scholars believe was destined to become her most modern and exciting novel and, like The Spite of Fortune, takes the reader from England to the New World and back again.

Or, since all readers love words, how about a book on the ultimate source of information on words--the Oxford English Dictionary. The Professor and the Madman was an excellent movie and reading the book about the making of the OED and the strange story of the two men at the heart of it and their unlikely relationship is an even better read. 

Choosing books for men can be difficult. For my son who enjoys history and intrigue and is very much a gentleman, I chose Amor Towels’ A Gentleman in Moscow for a birthday gift. This is a movingly human story about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel. 

My husband, who reads economics, current events, and philosophy, has been fascinated by Bourgeois Equality: How Ideas, Not Capital or Institutions, Enriched the World. Author Deirdre Nansen McCloskey summarizes modern economics and modern economic history with verve and lucidity, yet sees through to the really big scientific conclusion. 

So, for the booklovers on your list, start by thinking carefully about that person: What do they love? What’s going on in their life? What are their goals? What are their favorite memories? Hobbies? Problems? Can you find a book that will bring back memories of something you have done together? If you know their favorite author or genre try to find something similar, but that they haven’t read. And always appropriate—give them a book you love.

As one online writer said, “Books don’t make you fat, they don’t wilt, one-size-fits-all, and they are a lot more interesting than socks.” A carefully chosen book is like giving your friend a friend—now that’s a perfect gift!

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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