After reading all the Persephone Readathon posts this weekend, it occurred to me that I've never made a list of my Top Ten Persephones -- seems like the perfect time for this list! I've read more than 80 of the 125 Persephones titles so far and I think I have 18 owned-and-unread on my shelves. I've reviewed most of them and if you click on the titles it will link you to my reviews. I don't own all of them but I wish I did!
In alphabetical order by author, since I really love them all too much for an actual ranking:
|Endpaper from the Persephone edition of The Casino|
The Casino by Margaret Bonham. One of the excellent short story collections. I don't read short stories very often but I remember these were all excellent and I was prompted to track down more of her work via ILL.
Family Roundabout by Richmal Crompton. Charming story about an extended family between the wars, with two competing matriarchs. I know Crompton is famous for the William books but I'd love to read more of her adult fiction. I don't know of any others that are currently in print.
The Home-Maker by Dorothy Canfield Fisher. Wonderful story of a family in the 1920s. After a terrible accident, the parents are forced to change roles. It's a really interesting look at family dynamics and gender roles. Also one of the few Persephones by American authors.
|Endpapers from the Persephone edition of The Village|
A London Child of the 1870s by Molly Hughes. Funny and charming nonfiction memoir of a childhood in suburban London by a woman with four older brothers, the first of three volumes (the others aren't published by Persephone but I've since bought the combined edition which is out of print, though used copies are readily available.
The Village by Marghanita Laski. My favorite of the Laski titles available from Persephone, set just after the end of WWII. It's about two families and how the social class structure was changing.
|Endpapers of the Persephone edition of Dimanche and Other Stories|
Dimanche and Other Stories by Irene Nemirovsky. My first introduction to Nemirovsky, who was rediscovered about ten years ago with the publication of Suite Francaise (also wonderful). Brilliant short stories by a French writer who was tragically arrested and transported to Auschwitz, where she died.
|Endpapers from the Persephone edition of Doreen|
Doreen by Barbara Noble. Another wonderful domestic story set during WWII. Doreen is a nine-year old girl and her mother, a widowed charwoman, struggles with the decision to evacuate her to a small village to live with an upper-class couple who grow to love Doreen as their own child. The book expertly shows how all the adults love her and how Doreen becomes torn between them.
Miss Buncle's Book by D. E. Stevenson. A charming story about a spinster who writes a satirical novel about her village neighbors, and how her life changes with the her surprising literary success.
Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day by Winifred Watson. My very first Persephone read and one of their most popular titles, it's a Cinderella story about a down-and-out nanny who becomes the social secretary to a flighty nightclub singer due to a mix-up at an employment agency.
Someone at a Distance by Dorothy Whipple. I could have picked almost any one of the Whipple titles in the Persephone catalog for this list, or more than one. But Someone at a Distance is a great domestic story about a seemly perfect upper-middle class British family and how the family quickly falls to pieces. Not a lot of action, but really well-drawn, realistic characters.
Bloggers, which are your favorite Persephones?