Joseph Hocking, The Scarlet Woman (James Bowden, 1899). Anti-Catholic romance by the ultra-popular and prolific late-Victorian Methodist novelist (brother of fellow novelists Silas and Salome Hocking). (eBay)
Patrick Senecal, 5150, rue des Ormes (Alire, 2001). A man imprisoned by the horrifying Beaulieu family records his tale. (Amazon [secondhand]
Kanae Minato, Confessions, trans. Stephen Snyder (Mulholland, 2014). In an act of vengeance, a schoolteacher sets off a terrifying chain of events. (Lift Bridge)
L. N. R. [Ellen Ranyard], The Missing Link; Or. Bible-Women in the Homes of the London Poor (Carter & Bros., 1865). US reprint of this collection of essays on evangelical home visiting. More about Ranyard and "Bible women" here. (eBay)
Rosanna Mullins Leprohon, The Manor House of De Villerai, ed. Andrea Cabajsky (Broadview, 2014). Reprint of Leprohon's 1859-60 historical novel set during the Seven Years' War and its immediate aftermath. (Amazon)
Annamarie Jagose, Slow Water (Victoria UP, 2003). In the 1830s, a would-be missionary sails to New Zealand. (Amazon [secondhand])
Clare Clarke, Late Victorian Crime Fiction in the Shadow of Sherlock (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014). A study of detective fiction that decenters Doyle, examining the Sherlock Holmes stories in the context of the many other authors at work in the period (such as Zangwill). I'm reviewing this for OLM. (Review copy)
Favorite novels, in whatever genre: Jeffrey Renard Allen,Song of the Shank; Ann Harries, No Place for a Lady; Jane Harris, Gillespie and I;Robert Player, Let’s Talk of Graves, and Worms, and Epitaphs; James McBride, The Good Lord Bird; idem, Song Yet Sung; Lloyd Shepherd, Savage Magic; D. J. Taylor, Derby Day; Sarah Waters, The Paying Guests; A. N. Wilson, The Potter’s Hand.
Favorite academic books: Sally Shuttleworth, The Mind of the Child; Claudia Stokes, The Altar at Home; W. R. Ward, Early Evangelicalism; Alexis Weedon, Victorian Publishing.
Favorite genre anthology: Richard Thomas, ed., The New Black.
The returns are diminishing at an ever-increasing rate: Sherlock Holmes pastiches, of which there are too many, mostly terrible.
There are no further returns to be had: DO NOT PUT VAMPIRES IN DICKENS. DO NOT PUT ZOMBIES IN AUSTEN. DO NOT PUT WEREWOLVES IN THACKERAY. (To be clear: to my knowledge, nobody has put any werewolves in Thackeray’s fiction. Don’t do it.)
At least be original about vampirizing your fiction: Michael Talbot’s A Delicate Dependency, which is pretty much J.-K. Huysmans WITH VAMPIRES!
If I come across this character one more time, I’m going to turn into the Hulk: Jack the Ripper. You know, other things happened in the nineteenth century.
Understandable, albeit vaguely depressing, cover art: All those reprints of Sherlock Holmes novels with Cumberbatch and Freeman on the cover.
Most unforgivable line in a Sherlock Holmes pastiche: “Holmes, you are clever, very clever. But I am not done yet,” hissed the Professor. (Moriarty, of course. No, I’m not going to i.d. the author.)
On second thought, no: Dorothy Dunnett’s King Hereafter, which I thought might be a useful novel to teach opposite Macbeth. Of course, then I discovered that the novel was nearly seven hundred pages of teeny-tiny type.
Reason #19991 why using electronic texts in the classroom can be frustrating: My elderly iPad turned into the equivalent of an aluminum tray in the middle of teaching a book I only owned as an e-text, leaving me to get through the rest of it using my cellphone.
Novel most indebted to Cormac McCarthy: Kent Wascom, The Blood of Heaven.
Best fictional attempt to deal with Victorian religious crises: Stevie Davies, Awakening.
Best attempt to get at least some religion into Victorian historical fiction: Will Thomas’ Barker and Llewelyn series. (May also qualify for the Novelist Who Remembers the Existence of Victorian Jews and Novelist Aware That Not All Residents of Victorian London Were White awards.)
And now I’m sinking into permanent gloom: The cumulative effect of Alex Grecian’s Scotland Yard series.
Best revision of a Victorian novel: Daniel Levine, Hyde.
Best books reread for class: Scott G. F. Bailey, The Astrologer; Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights; Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland; Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day; Henry James, The Turn of the Screw; Nina Revoyr, The Age of Dreaming.
Unreliable narrator most amusing to my students: Soren in Scott G. F. Bailey’s The Astrologer.
Author most unexpectedly interesting to my students: Mrs. Sherwood, of History of the Fairchild Family fame.
There’s Self-Insert Fic, and then there’s this: Fr. Rolfe (Baron Corvo), Hadrian the Seventh.
Most moralizing in a Gothic: Kim Newman, An English Ghost Story.
Best response to a classic SF short story: Don Sakers, “The Cold Solution.”
He synonymed, adverbly: Michael Talbot, A Delicate Dependency. “Please stop,” wailed the reader, wretchedly.
OMG!!! Character development!!!: Stephen Booth’s detectives Cooper and Fry appear to have finally reached some kind of détente.
I’d suggest that you kill off this character, except that he’s already dead: The increasingly pointless Hamish in “Charles Todd’s” Inspector Rutledge series.
Most confusing plot in a Victorian religious novel: S. J. Hancock, Confession.
Most depressingly obvious symbolic name in a nineteenth-century novel: “Albion” in Patrick Bronte’s The Maid of Killarney (1813). Yes, Albion is English.
Victorian religious novels that did not drive me to eat excessive quantities of chocolate-chip cookies: George MacDonald, Annals of a Quiet Neighborhood; Adeline Sergeant, The Surrender of Margaret Bellarmine.
Victorian religious novels wretched beyond all hope of redemption: Who Will Win?; John Douglas DeLille, Canon Lucifer.
It’s not immediately clear to me why I didn’t already own this book: A. M. C. Waterman, Revolution, Economics, & Religion.
It’s a good thing the seller screwed up, because I already owned this book: For reasons unbeknownst to me, I ordered another copy of Ishiguro’s When We Were Orphans; what showed up instead was some kind of vampire thriller (promptly deposited on the free books table).
Second time is the charm: Ross Gilfillan, The Edge of the Crowd (the last time I tried buying it, I got an ARC).
Rats, not again: In which I somehow wound up with a duplicate copy of George H. Miles’ The Truce of God.
Er, well, this will make it easier to read on the plane: I picked up Richard Flanagan’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North at my local indie, then forgot I owned it and bought an ebook.
Review copy I was happiest to see: Claudia Stokes, The Altar at Home.
Most unexpectedly entertaining academic books: W. R. Ward, Early Evangelicalism; Ian Hacking, The Taming of Chance; Michael J. Cullen, The Statistical Movement in Early Victorian Britain.
Most surprisingly affordable paperback: Sheridan Gilley and Brian Stanley, The Cambridge History of Christianity: World Christianities, c. 1815-1914.
Best bargains: Mark Chapman, The Fantasy of Reunion; James Murphy, The Oxford History of the Irish Book, Vol. IV.
Eliza Smith Richardson, The Veil Lifted; Or the Romance and Reality of Convent Life (Henry Hoyt, c. 1869). Anti-convent novel, featuring the usual run of abused nuns, insanity, weird-goings on, etc. Also, it ends with a really bad poem. (eBay)
John Ehle, The Land Breakers (NYRB, 2014). Reprint of Ehle's 1964 historical novel about settling the Appalachian mountains. (Amazon)
Michael J. Cullen, The Statistical Movement in Early Victorian Britain: The Foundations of Empirical Social Research (Harvester, 1975). How the Victorians started classifying and quantifying everything in sight. (Amazon [secondhand])
S. Horton, Her Bonnie Pit Laddie: A Tale of Northern Methodism (Thomas Mitchell, c. 1892). Set in a Victorian mining community, and involves local religious politics, union organization, and the like. (eBay)
A. L. O. E., The Children's Tabernacle: Or, Hand-Work and Heart-Work (John F. Shaw, n.d. [c. 1872?]). In the subgenre of parents (and/or governesses, etc.) telling their children stories from the Bible. A. L. O. E. is the missionary Charlotte Maria Tucker. (eBay)
Nayah, The Little Hindoo Convert; The Gold-Mine; The Name on the Rock; The Plate of Cherries; The Rose-Tree; Charles Dwight, or The Missionary's Son (American Sunday-School Union, n.d. [1870s]). Six Religious Tract Society tracts, reprinted in the USA and bound together. (eBay)
Rachel Cusk, The Country Life (Picador, 1997). Young woman answers ad for au pair, discovers strange goings-on in distinctly Jane Eyre-ish fashion. (eBay)
Jonathan Grimwood, The Last Banquet (Europa, 2014). Historical novel set in eighteenth-century France, featuring a gourmand who seeks out the world's most esoteric tastes. (Amazon)
Loren D. Estleman, ed., The Plated Spoon and Other Tales of Sherlock Holmes (Tyrus, 2014). Of the making of many Sherlock Holmes anthologies there is no end. This one features both old and new tales, including Doyle's self-parody "How Watson Learned the Trick." (Amazon)
The Churchman's Monthly Penny Magazine, vol. V (1851). Full year of this Protestant magazine, featuring a combination of missionary sketches, short tales for children, discourses on various doctrines, and (as one would expect, given the year) angst about the "Papal aggression." (eBay)
Anna Hanson Dorsey, The Old House at Glenaran (John Murphy, 1887). Old Scottish businessman winds up raising his nephews. Dorsey was a prolific and popular American Catholic novelist with something of an international following. (eBay)
Leslie S. Klinger and Laurie S. King, In the Company of Sherlock Holmes (Pegasus, 2014). Sherlockian short fiction by various and sundry mystery, SF, and horror authors. As you may have noticed, this book was the subject of a lawsuit.