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Born in Carlisle, Margaret Forster is the author of many successful and acclaimed novels, including Have the Men Had Enough?, Lady's Maid, Diary of an Ordinary Woman, Is There Anything You Want?, Keeping the World Away, and Over, bestselling memoirs (Hidden Lives and Precious Lives) and biographies. She died in February 2016.
'I was born on 25th May, 1938, in the front bedroom of a house in Orton Road, a house on the outer edges of Raffles, a council estate. I was a lucky girl.' So begins Margaret Forster's journey through the houses she's lived in, from that sparkling new council house, to her beloved London home of today. This is not a book about bricks and mortar though. This is a book about what houses are to us, the effect they have on the way we live our lives and the changing nature of our homes: from blacking grates and outside privies; to cities dominated by bedsits and lodgings; to the houses of today converted back into single dwellings. Finally, it is a gently insistent, personal inquiry into the meaning of home.
'I was born on May 25, 1938, in the front bedroom of a house in Orton Road, on the outer edges of Raffles, a council estate. I was a lucky girl.' So begins Margaret Forster's journey through the houses she's lived in, from that sparkling new council house, built as part of a utopian vision by Carlisle City Council, to her beloved London house of today, via Oxford, Hampstead, the Lake District and a spell in the Mediterranean. This is not a book about bricks and mortar, or about how a house becomes a home with the right scatter of cushions. This is a book about what houses are to us, the effect they have on the way we live our lives. It is also a wonderful backwards glace at the changing nature of our accommodation: from blacking grates and outside privies; to cities dominated by bedsits and lodgings; to houses today being converted back into single dwellings, all open-plan spaces and bringing the outside in. Finally, it is a gently insistent, personal inquiry into the meaning of home.
When Julia was eight, she was asked to be a bridesmaid at her beautiful cousin Iris's wedding. Her mother saw this as a chore - expensive, inconvenient - but Julia was thrilled. When the time came, even the fact that her bridesmaid's dress didn't fit, and was plain cream rather than the pink she'd hoped for, couldn't ruin the day. But after this, things began to go wrong for Julia, starting with an episode involving her cousin's baby, a pram and a secret trip round the block. A lifetime later, Julia is a child psychologist who every day deals with young girls said to be behaving badly. Some are stealing, some are running away from home, some are terribly untidy, some won't eat or get out of bed. Julia has a special knack with these girls. She understands which really are troubled, and which are at the mercy of the way they are seen by the adults around them. But one day, Julia's own troubled past starts to creep into her present. And as she struggles to understand her childhood self, she must confront the possibility that the truth may not be as devastating as she feared.
I believe Margaret is one of our finest authors who ought to be better valued. She writes about women, here connected through a hospital as visitor, doctor, patient or ex-patient. Itâs a good, old-fashioned book with well rounded characters and an understanding of what it must be like to be diagnosed with cancer and the effects of surgery. Itâs beautifully written, enormously involving, only perhaps a little inconclusive. I longed to know more.Comparison: Anne Tyler, Maureen Duffy, Linda Grant.Similar this month: None.
The novel explores the experiences of a diverse group of women whose lives have all been changed by breast cancer
August 2011 Guest Editor Deborah Lawrenson on Margaret Forster... Margaret Forster’s biography of Daphne du Maurier is an absolute must for anyone who is fascinated by du Maurier’s enduring classic Rebecca. As you’d expect from a writer and biographer of Forster’s calibre, this is a riveting narrative in its own right, full of insight and understanding of the woman, which in turn illuminates her work. The Lovereading view... A biography of the novelist Daphne du Maurier which looks behind the relaxed and charming facade to expose the workings of a complex and emotional character. The book won the Macallan/Writers' Guild 1993 Non-fiction Award.
Die heile Welt zweier Familien ist aus den Fugen geraten, nachdem Harriets Sohn Joe auf dem Heimweg vom Kino uberfallen wurde. Was steckte hinter der brutalen Tat von Leo, einem Jugendlichen, fur den seine Gromutter Sheila nach dem Unfalltod seiner Mutter Pat doch alles getan hat? Und warum ist Joe Harriet gegenuber so verschlossen geworden und kann mit ihr nicht uber das sprechen, was ihm angetan wurde?Behutsam und sensibel zeichnet Margaret Forster das Psychogramm zweier Frauen, die nach einem schlimmen Einschnitt versuchen, ihre Familien, ihre Ehe und sich selbst zu retten. Bis heute begeistert die englische Bestseller-Autorin zahllose Leserinnen mit ihren einfhlsamen Schilderungen ber die Hhen und Tiefen des Lebens, ber verdrngte ngste und schmerzhafte Schuld.
23 February Results rolling in! Algebra, 6th = 74%. Not bad. Latin = 55% Thrilled! History top = 85% smashing! Geography, disgusting, 2nd = 67%. In 1954 in Carlisle lived an ordinary 15-year-old schoolgirl called Margaret. She would go on to become an acclaimed writer, the author of the novels Georgy Girl and Diary of an Ordinary Woman as well as biographies and memoirs. But this is her diary from that year; her life. Hers might be a lost world, but her daily observations bring it back in vivid, irresistible detail. 7 May Wonderful feat accomplished yesterday by Roger Bannister! At last, the 4 minute mile. Glad an Englishman got it before anyone else. 24 July Bought a pair of shorts - white, very short with two pockets. Super but rather daring! 2 September Mum's coming back on Saturday. Miss her every minute! I'll never marry and have a family -- housekeeping for two for a week is bad enough -- but for life!
This biography of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, written with reference to Browning correspondence only recently available, argues that the poet was a strong and determined woman largely responsible for her own incarceration in Wimpole Street. The author traces her life from her early childhood and adolescence and explores her marriage. She draws a picture of early Victorian family life and aims to show that Elizabeth was a considerable and dedicated poet, self-willed, witty and courageous. Forster has also edited the companion volume Selected Poems of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and is author of several other biographies.
'Compelling...taut and suspenseful' Guardian Tara Fraser has a secret. Desperate to escape herself and her past, she changes her name, packs up her London home and moves to a town in the North of England where she knows no one. But one of her new neighbours, Nancy, is intrigued by her. And as hard as Tara tries to distance herself, she starts to drop her guard. Then a letter arrives. An old friend wants to meet up. Struggling to keep her old life at bay, Tara soon discovers the dangers of fighting the past.
In 1831 John Dodgson Carr, son of a Quaker grocer, set off to walk from his home in Kendal to Carlisle, determined to launch a great enterprise. Within 15 years, Carr's of Carlisle had become one of the largest baking businesses in the world -and is a by-word for biscuits to this day. Following his trail to Carlisle (where she herself was born and grew up), Margaret Forster brings 19th-century daily life into vivid focus and charts the rise and rise of a middle-class family like the Carrs, ambitious, innovative yet sternly religious. This is history as it was lived by the men and women both above and below stairs - from the shop floor to the comfortable bourgeois homes of the paternalistic Carrs. We see the conflict between religion and profit, the family feuds and the changing face of a city through this compelling historical narrative, told with Margaret Forster's characteristic blend of scholarship, readability and marvellous attention to the texture of everyday life.
Frisch verheiratet und arm wie eine Kirchenmaus lebt Margaret Forster mit ihrem Mann auf engem Raum zur Untermiete. Der Vermieter ist ein exzentrischer alter Herr mit Gerauschphobie. Fur Verliebte ein lastiger Zustand - und so kauft das junge Paar ein heruntergekommenes, aber immerhin bezahlbares Haus und lasst sich nicht beirren: renoviert mit Hingabe und akzeptiert die Tatsache, dass auch noch eine rucksichtslose Mieterin mit Faible fur betorendes Rosenduftspray dort wohnt - auf Lebenszeit. Es wird schon besser werden! Und es wird besser, mit jedem Haus ein bisschen mehr. In ihrem neuen, liebevoll erzhlten Buch ldt Margaret Forster zu einer besonderen Reise ein. Sie fhrt in die Huser, in denen sie lebte und wo ihre berhmten Romane entstanden. Am Ende ist sie sicher: Es spielt keine Rolle, wie die Kissen auf dem Sofa arrangiert sind, damit aus einem Haus ein Zuhause wird.
Born in Carlisle in 1887, brought up in a children's home and by reluctant relatives, Evie, with her wild hair and unassuming ways, seems a quiet, undemanding child. Shona, born almost seventy years later, is headstrong and striking. She grows up in comfort and security in Scotland, the only child of doting parents. But there are, as she discovers, unanswered questions about her past. The two girls have only one thing in common: both were abandoned as babies by their mothers. Different times, different circumstances, but these two girls grow up sharing the same obsession. Each sets out to stalk and then haunt her natural mother. Both mothers dread disclosure; both daughters seek emotional compensation and, ultimately, revenge.
Catherine's mother died when Catherine was just a baby girl, leaving nothing but her perfect reputation to live up to. Or so she thought. But then Catherine finds a box addressed to her, filled with objects seemingly without meaning - three feathers, an exotic seashell, a painting, a mirror, two prints, an address book, a map, a hat, a rucksack and a necklace. And while she's busy playing detective trying to find out who her mother was, she finds out more about herself than she ever really wanted to know. Secrets are discovered, truths uncovered, and Catherine realises that maybe there was something more to her mother, something that her familiy has kept from her. How long a shadow can a dead woman cast?
Isamay's unusual name comes from her two very different grandmothers, Isa and May, who were both present at her birth and who have both formed and influenced her whole life in very particular ways. Now almost thirty, Isamay is trying to write a thesis about grandmothers in history but is instead constantly ambushed by the startling secrets her own family has been keeping. When disturbing truths are revealed that force Isamay to examine her own certainties, will her grandmothers be able to build a bridge across the generations?
Don and Louise's eighteen-year-old daughter Miranda has died in a sailing accident. While Louise takes steps to move on with her life, Don cannot come to terms with the chain of events that led to her death. Instead, he is determined to bring someone to account. The surviving children handle the loss of their sister better than their parents, but what they can't handle is their family being torn apart... Taut, heartbreaking and immensely moving, Over is a novel about love and loss, grief and hope, pain and resolution, and about what happens to human beings when tragedy strikes like lightening.
Lost, found, stolen, strayed, sold, fought over... This engrossing, beautifully crafted novel follows the fictional adventures, over a hundred years, of an early 20th-century painting and the women whose lives it touches. It opens with bold, passionate Gwen, struggling to be an artist, leaving for Paris where she becomes Rodin's lover and paints a small, intimate picture of a quiet corner of her attic room. Then there's Charlotte, a dreamy intellectual Edwardian girl, and Stella, Lucasta, Ailsa and finally young Gillian, who share an unspoken desire to have for themselves a tranquil golden place like that in the painting. Quintessential Forster, this is a novel about women's lives, about what it means and what it costs to be both a woman and an artist, and an unusual, compelling look at a beautiful painting and its imagined afterlife.
Georgy is young, gregarious and fun - she is also large, self-confessedly ugly and desperate for love. Georgy bears her fate bravely as she alternates between playing the fool and humbling herself before Meredith, her pretty, callous flatmate, although when James, middle-aged socialite and self-imposed 'Uncle', asks Georgy to become his mistress, she is tempted to accept. Then Meredith announces that she is pregnant and Jos, the expectant father, decides he is in love with Georgy...
London 1844, and a shy young woman has arrived to take up a new position in the grandeur of No. 50, Wimpole Street. Subtly and compellingly, Lady's Maid gives voice to Elizabeth Wilson's untold story, her complex relationship with her mistress, Elizabeth Barrett, and her dramatic role in the most famous elopement in history.
To Penelope Butler the family was all, the sole ambition of her adult life. Three of her four daughters, however, had different ideas. Rosemary rejected it; Jess was destroyed by it; Celia found it eluded her. Only Emily pursued her mother's ideal, with disastrous results. Penelope begins to record their family story as it unfolds. But when Rosemary discovers these private papers she is enraged by her mother's distortions of the truth and proceeds to tell the story from her perspective. From D-Day on into the turbulent post-war years, a picture emerges not only of a single family in all its complexities, but also of the changing world that shaped their lives.
Angela Bradbury's 'Poor Mother' : delicate, humble, permanently disappointed, has made endless sacrifices for her family, for which they can never quite be grateful enough. 'You can't please your mother', as her father says. Even now, just one phone call from Mother can send Angela spiralling into guilt, self-recrimination and doubts over her own abilities as a mother. Worryingly, Angela's relationship with her own daughter Sadie seems to be going the same way, as Sadie develops into a sullen, unresponsive adolescent. It seems that motherhood is a heritage of disappointments and broken promises. But Angela is determined that, somehow, her relationship with Sadie will be different.
What do men run away from? Not war, not physical hardship, but the day-to-day emotional demands of impossible domestic situations. That's women's work. This is a story of female courage, where black comedy turns to disturbing pathos revolving around the rights of an indomitable woman