You can market and promote a book as much as you like, but in the end everyone agrees that the best recommendation is the one you get from someone you know. This works of course on a variety of levels. The other person knows you and knows what you like and what you might be interested in, so the chances that you’ll enjoy reading the book tend to be higher form the start. Then there is the joy of shared enjoyment. To have read something new and be able to go back and talk about it with a friend is a great experience. Even more special when it’s a granddaughter.
Last month eight year old Maddy and I were talking about the Harry Potter books. Now much as I like the first three, I’m not keen on the later ones. Maddy however is a fan so she asked why I’d lost my enthusiasm for the boy wizard and what sort of books I really enjoyed. Learning that her granny loved the Gothic she went to her bookshelf, took out her copy of “Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse” and said “You can borrow this one, Granny and you’ll really love it.”
Now to my everlasting shame, I’d not heard of Chris Riddell, but once I’d started “Goth Girl” I was hooked. The book is fast moving, funny, with jokes that adults as well as children can understand. There’s nothing snide, or knowing, and the literary references are brilliant.
Ada’s governess, who only teaches at night, is Lucy Borgia. Lucy, who has a gentle lilting voice and a slight accent, replaced a whole schoolroom of previous, not quite so satisfactory governesses, including among others, Hebe Poppins who taught Ada to sing tongue-twisting songs, Nanny Darling who taught her to bark loudly and my joint favourites Jane Ear who taught her pupil how to eavesdrop and Beck Blunt who taught her how to play cards.
I took “Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse” home with me, read it one sitting and on my visit this week Maddy lent me “Goth Girl and the Fete Worse than Death.”
I love finding a new author especially one whose book I’ve enjoyed as much as this, so thank you Maddy. As soon as this blog is posted, I’m going to curl up on the sofa and start reading and by the time I see Maddy again at Christmas I’ll be able to tell her what I like best about this second book in the series and ask if I can borrow book three.