DP Challenge: Seductive Language

There are many good writers out there; a few of them published and even less become truly successful. However, there will always be those whose writing sticks in your head so persistently that you find it completely impossible to pick up another book for days, perhaps weeks. To me, this is the sign of a remarkable book. As you hungrily read the last page, the last paragraph, the last word you can spend a few treasured moments wallowing in contentment, allowing not only the story to wash over you but the language.

Of course, eventually you will be hit with a wave of loss. You are now spoiled for any other writer; nothing can wipe away the memory of that authors’ exquisite writing. You find yourself smiling to yourself at odd moments as parts of the plot rush back to you, or perhaps you realise people around you resemble the characterisations intimately described in the book.

One such book would be ‘Pride and Prejudice’ by Jane Austen. I know you can argue the language is only so seductive as it represents a by-gone era of chivalry, romance and culture but you can’t help but lose yourself. The first chapter starts:

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.”

However sexist it is, I can’t help myself but settle back in my chairs, snuggle down and smile, knowing I am in for a satisfying ride in a society which may seem familiar and yet never fails to surprise and amuse as the lives of Elizabeth, Jane and of course the enigmatic Mr. Darcy unravel in a tale of love, betrayal, snobbery and tradition.

In a way modern authors will struggle to compete which such style as they draw upon modern experiences and modern language, neither of which enchants the reader as effectively. Of course this is different for different people, do any authors have this affect on you?

More modern books which have stayed with me include ‘The Kite Runner’, a fascinating tale of a young man who escapes Afghanistan as a boy only to return later in search of redemption and acceptance. This tale, told by Khaled Hosseini, portrays Afghanistan as it once was – a country of beauty, friendship and community – before it was torn apart by war and conflict.

Sometimes it is the style of writing, sometimes the plot, or the message behind the words that attracts you to a story and causes it to remain with you. Shivers travel down you spine as quotes or the general tone or style returns at odd moments. This is the sign of a truly remarkable achievement all writers aspire to but few ever attain. Sadly for most it will not occur until after their death as new language emerges which eventually renders their style mysterious and unattainable.

Katie Fford: the perfect summer read

There’s nothing better than sitting in the garden, under the sun, with a good book. After a hectic week at work, or school, or perhaps both, a good read is necessary. However, more often than not the brain shuts down at the weekend, causing the complex meanings and motives behind a mystery drama or action thriller to simply pass you by, leaving the reader more confused and tired than ever.

Therefore, an alternative must be found. For me, every year I read a few of Katie Fford’s romance novels, books which have been described as “top-drawer romantic escapism” by You Magazine and “a funny, fresh and lively read” by Heat. Katie Fford has the ability to create, arguably ordinary, characters and still form a sense of intrigue so that the reader becomes hooked. So much so that one book can be finished in a day or two, or a few evenings if you’re busy. Using normal, recognisable characters increases the appeal as it is very easy to become convinced something similar could also change your life for the better. Perhaps a mysterious stranger, or an old flame.

Despite being able to pick out the ‘hero’ of the hour in most of the blurbs, as can be achieved with many gentle romances, Katie Fford writes to hold the reader in suspense as to when the heroine is going to come to her senses until the very end.

Brief Biography: “Katie Fford lives Gloucestershire with her husband and some of her three children. Recently her old hobbies of ironing and housework have given way to singing, Flamenco dancing and husky racing. She claims this keeps her fit.”

A quick over view of some of my favourites:

  1. Thyme Out: Perdita runs into her ex-husband in the most unlikely of places; a kitchen. When they were married neither of them could boil an egg (which was part of their problem), so how come Lucas is being groomed as the next celebrity chef? Life become even more complex when Kitty, her 87-year-old friend, has a stroke. Is Lucas really the villain, or is he the pillar Perdita needs to lean on?
  2. Wedding Season: Sarah is a very successful wedding planner, who doesn’t believe in love. Unfortunately, she finds herself organising two weddings, for the same day, in only two months time. Luckily, she has a small team of tried and trusted friends willing to help take the strain. Elsa, a shy dress designer, and Bron, a multi-talented hairdresser. All three women are rushed off their feet and don’t have much time to contemplate their own love lives. Or do they?
  3. Artistic Licence: Thea, tired of looking after a houseful of students, runs off to Ireland with Rory, a charming but feckless artist. The arrival of Molly, her bossy but well-meaning friend; Thea’s most annoying lodger, Petal; and her uncle Ben, a man who Thea swears she will never like brings reality into the beautiful, content land of Ireland.

Well worth a space in your suitcase.