Today I have packed author, Julie Ryan, off to a desert island with only five books to keep her company while she await rescue. Which titles has she elected to take with her?
Book One – Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . .
Working as a lady’s companion, the orphaned heroine of Rebecca learns her place. Life begins to look very bleak until, on a trip to the South of France, she meets Maxim de Winter, a handsome widower whose sudden proposal of marriage takes her by surprise. Whisked from glamorous Monte Carlo to his brooding estate, Manderley, on the Cornish Coast, the new Mrs de Winter finds Max a changed man. And the memory of his dead wife Rebecca is forever kept alive by the forbidding Mrs Danvers . . .
Not since Jane Eyre has a heroine faced such difficulty with the Other Woman. An international bestseller that has never gone out of print, Rebecca is the haunting story of a young girl consumed by love and the struggle to find her identity.
I don’t often re-read books so this one definitely has to come with me. I must have read it four or five times and each time, I can’t help thinking how cleverly plotted it is. As a psychological thriller that makes you wonder who to trust, this book has to be up there as one of my all-time favourites.
(Blogger’s note: This book has the BEST opening line of any novel ever. This is a fact and not open for debate.)
Book Two – The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles
Charles Smithson, a respectable engaged man, meets Sarah Woodruff as she stands on the Cobb at Lyme Regis, staring out to sea. Charles falls in love, but Sarah is a disgraced woman, and their romance will defy all the stifling conventions of the Victorian age.
I’ve chosen this book because of the clever way in which the narrator becomes a character in his own right and shows how the ending of the book is open to interpretation. In this case there are three possible endings, which means that it’s like having three stories in one. I have to admit to being fascinated by this concept.
Book Three – The Island by Victoria Hislop
On the brink of a life-changing decision, Alexis Fielding longs to find out about her mother’s past. But Sofia has never spoken of it. All she admits to is growing up in a small Cretan village before moving to London. When Alexis decides to visit Crete, however, Sofia gives her daughter a letter to take to an old friend, and promises that through her she will learn more.
Arriving in Plaka, Alexis is astonished to see that it lies a stone’s throw from the tiny, deserted island of Spinalonga – Greece’s former leper colony. Then she finds Fotini, and at last hears the story that Sofia has buried all her life: the tale of her great-grandmother Eleni and her daughters and a family rent by tragedy, war and passion.
She discovers how intimately she is connected with the island, and how secrecy holds them all in its powerful grip…
As a long time Hellenophile, this book highlights the plight of the lepers sent in exile to the island of Spinalonga. This book brings back memories of time spent in Greece and a reminder of how stalwart people can be under duress. Thinking about other people’s suffering would take my mind off being stuck on a desert island.
Book Four – Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Plain orphan Jane Eyre is not expected to amount to much. A pleasant existence as a governess is all she is supposed to hope for – but Jane desperately wants more.
An appointment at the gothic mansion of Thornfield offers her more than she could ever dream of -including a chance at real love. But when tragedy strikes, she will have to use all her bravery, spirit and resolve to overcome her supposed fate, and forge her own destiny.
This was a set text in school and has remained with me ever since. I’ve chosen it simple because it’s a book I enjoy and never get fed up of.
Book Five – My Family and Other Animals –by Gerald Durrell
Escaping the ills of the British climate, the Durrell family – acne-ridden Margo, gun-toting Leslie, bookworm Lawrence and budding naturalist Gerry, along with their long-suffering mother and Roger the dog – take off for the island of Corfu.
But the Durrells find that, reluctantly, they must share their various villas with a menagerie of local fauna – among them scorpions, geckos, toads, bats and butterflies.
Recounted with immense humour and charm My Family and Other Animals is a wonderful account of a rare, magical childhood.
This is my go-to favourite when I need cheering up. It never fails to delight and always brings a smile to my face. I think I would definitely need one light-hearted book to make me smile.
My luxury item
The one item I couldn’t live without is pen and paper.
Ok, so I cheated here as that’s two items. Perhaps a notebook and pen set? I would find it really hard not to be able to write whilst on a desert island.
Who knows, I might even get a bestseller out of it?
About Julie Ryan
Julie Ryan’s roots are in a small mining village in South Yorkshire. After a degree in French Language and Literature, wanderlust kicked in and she lived and worked in France, Poland, Thailand and Greece. Her spirit enriched, her imagination fired, Julie started a series of mystery romances; thrillers set in the Greek Isles. She has also written a Christmas rom-com and her latest work, Finding Rose, is a contemporary novel with a strong historical element.
A prolific and well-known book review blogger, Julie does her writing and reviewing from rural Gloucestershire, where she lives with her husband, son and rescue cat. She manages to write a book a year although without their help, she would probably write more quickly. She is a book addict and will soon need either a bigger house for her collection or a new husband!
When not writing or reading or eating chocolate, she can be found treading the boards in the local amateur dramatic society – Oh yes she can!
Make sure you check out Julie’s latest novel, Finding Rose, which you can buy here.
When three sisters, Ginny, Sally and Molly are brought together at their father’s hospital bed, they are forced to confront not only the prospect of a future without him but also the secrets of the past that have kept them apart.
Their father, Eddie Matthews, drugged up on morphine, seems to be rambling but could he, in fact, be reliving previous lives as a Tudor monk and as a soldier on the Front in WW1? Struggling to speak he reveals that he has a secret and urges his daughters to ‘Find Rose’. Can the sisters put aside their differences to fulfil his last wish?
Connect with Julie:
Facebook: Julie Ryan Author