Welcome to THE GALLERY where we invite you to browse some of the beautiful literature we have in stock here in the Plymouth Proprietary Library.
All of these books are available to borrow and you will be pleased to know we don't specify a date for their return, hence our policy of not issuing library fines.
Complimentary coffee, cake and a tour of the Library will be available at all of our Coffee Mornings on the second Saturday of each month for anyone interested in joining. Annual membership is £60 - payable by cheque or cash - with a reduced rate of £30 for under 25's or students.
by Florence L. Barclay
The Rosary is a novel by Florence L. Barclay. It was first published in 1909 by G.P. Putnam's Sons and was a bestselling novel for many years running, reaching the number one spot in 1910. Florence Louisa Barclay (2 December 1862 – 10 March 1921) was an English romance novelist and short story writer. She was born Florence Louisa Charlesworth in Limpsfield, Surrey, England, the daughter of the local Anglican rector. One of three girls, she was a sister to Maud Ballington Booth, the Salvation Army leader and co-founder of the Volunteers of America.
When Florence was seven years old, the family moved to Limehouse in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. In 1881, Florence Charlesworth married the Rev. Charles W. Barclay and honeymooned in the Holy Land, where, in Shechem, they reportedly discovered Jacob's Well, the place where, according to the Gospel of St John, Jesus met the woman of Samaria (John 4-5). Florence Barclay and her husband settled in Hertford Heath, in Hertfordshire, where she fulfilled the duties of a rector's wife. She became the mother of eight children. In her early forties health problems left her bedridden for a time and she passed the hours by writing what became her first romance novel titled The Wheels of Time. Her next novel, The Rosary, a story of undying love, was published in 1909 and its success eventually resulted in its being translated into eight languages and made into five motion pictures, also in several languages. According to the New York Times, the novel was the No.1 bestselling novel of 1910 in the United States. The enduring popularity of the book was such that more than twenty-five years later, Sunday Circle magazine serialized the story and in 1926 the prominent French playwright Alexandre Bisson adapted the book as a three-act play for the Parisian stage. Florence Barclay wrote eleven books in all, including a work of non-fiction. Her novel The Mistress of Shenstone (1910) was made into a silent film of the same title in 1921. Her short story Under the Mulberry Tree appeared in the special issue called "The Spring Romance Number" of the Ladies Home Journal of 11 May 1911. Florence Barclay died in 1921 at the age of fifty-eight. The Life of Florence Barclay: a study in personality was published anonymously that year by G. P. Putnam's Sons "by one of Her Daughters."
Life In Edwardian England
by Robert Cecil
Cecil writes of Queen Victoria's reign as being a time of stability. Even if the 'widow' was often dour, she ruled over an era of great transformation with new inventions and discoveries. A time of great social movement too, with the building of the railroads and the rise in industrialisation. And when she finally came to die Great Britain was in a state of shock, with Henry James and Marie Correlli both quoted as saying the very same words: 'We all feel motherless today.'
King Edward's reign did not start well. On the original Coronation day, 26 June 1902, the king was not in the best of health, later being diagnosed as suffering from appendicitis. The event was postponed until August, by which time everyone in the country was in the mood to celebrate, with the wealthy hosting dinners, and with commoners in the streets and pubs singing songs like 'Dolly Gray', or 'The Honeysuckle and the Bee.'
by H.G. Wells
These comic novels will resonate with anyone who has ever felt trapped by circumstance. Their central characters, Artie Kipps and Alfred Polly, are prisoners of their modest social class, limited education, dull work, and sterile relationships. In Wells' hands they break out of the cages that society has constructed for them, learning after bitter experience the truth that 'if the world does not please you, you can change it'. This message, a revolutionary one in its day for the growing army of Edwardian clerks and drapers, is handled with a rich comedy and freshness that belies its deadly seriousness. Wells is at his very best here in exposing and satirising the unequal nature of British society while preparing the ground for its reformation.
by Laura Beatty
Mrs Langtry - born a provincial in 1853, died rich and lonely in 1929 - was surrounded by scandal, luxary and gossip; but this new book goes beyond these outward trappings to lift the masks that Oscar Wilde, her friend and mentor, taught her to wear. It is not so much a life as a series of lives - each one distinct from the next - as Lillie reinvented herself. At its centre are the love letters written by Lillie to Arthur Jones, her childhood friend and secret lover, at the time of her fall from Society, her near-bankruptcy, and the birth of her illegitimate daughter at a hidden address in Paris. Laura Beatty captures exactly the spirit of the age, and reveals a passionate woman for whom the charge of opportunism was by no means the whole story.
Brothers in War
by Michael Walsh
Brothers in War is the immensely powerful and deeply tragic story of the Beechey brothers, and how they paid the ultimate price for King and country. All eight went to fight in the Great War on such far-flung battlefields as France, Flanders, East Africa and Gallipoli. Only three would return alive. Even amid the carnage of the trenches, it was a family trauma almost without parallel. Their wives and sweethearts were left bereft, their widowed mother Amy devastated. It is a tragedy that has remained forgotten and unmarked for nearly 90 years. Until now.
Kept in a small brown case handed down by the brothers' youngest sister, Edie, were hundreds of letters sent home from the front by the Beechey boys: scraps of paper scribbled on in the firing line, heartfelt messages written from a deathbed, exasperated correspondences detailing the absurdities of life in the trenches. From it all emerges the remarkable tale of the lost brothers.
Tragic and moving, poetic in its intensity, Brothers in War reveals first-hand the catastrophe that was the Great War; all told through one family forced to sacrifice everything.
Ode to London
edited by Jane McMorland Hunter
Edited by Jane McMorland Hunter, Ode to London is a wonderful book full of epic poems that celebrates England's capital city and its vast and majestic presence.
An anthology of poetry that explores life in England's bustling capital city, there are ditties about pie, mash and jellied eels featured alongside much-loved work from poets such as John Betjeman, TS Eliot and John Donne. The book is beautifully illustrated with scenes of London life and the poems featured celebrate every aspect of the city, from the Houses of Parliament and the Blitz spirit, through to red double-decker buses and the infamous rainy summers.
The Pursuit of Alice Thrift
by Elinor Lipman
The stunning new novel from a sparkling comic writer who is on the brink of stardom.
Poor Alice Thrift: book-smart but people-hopeless. Alice graduated second in her class at medical school, but hospital life is proving quite a challenge. Evaluations describe her performance as 'workmanlike' and her people skills as 'hypothermic'. Luckily, Alice's roommate Leo, the most popular nurse at the hospital, and her feisty neighbour Sylvie, take on the task of guiding Alice through the narrow straits of her own no-rapport zone.
When Ray Russo, a social-climbing fudge salesman, dedicates himself to a romantic pursuit, Leo and Sylvie harbour serious doubts. Yet as the chase intensifies, Alice's bedside manner begins to thaw. Can this dubious character be the one to lift Alice out of the depths of her social ineptitude? Written with bite, pace and effortless wit, this seriously funny novel puts romance under the microscope with hilarious consequences.
The Collected Short Stories
by Scott Fitzgerald
Few American novelists of the twentieth century have stayed as modern as F. Scott Fitzgerald. He gave a name to his age, ‘the Jazz Age’, but his reputation has outlived it.
Gathered here are the five novels he wrote in his relatively short career, together with a number of the many short stories he wrote between 1922 and his death in 1940. This Side of Paradise catapulted him to fame, its exposé of the manners and morals of a post-war generation becoming a cause célèbre. The Beautiful and Damned, a semi autobiographical moral parable of a doomed marriage, affirmed Fitzgerald’s status as the spokesman for the generation of the 1920s. His third novel, The Great Gatsby, remains for many readers the definitive American novel of the twentieth century, its eponymous hero a complex fictional portrayal of a romantic imagination at the mercy of a corrupt reality. Tender is the Night is an American Vanity Fair set on the French Riviera in the 1920s. Fitzgerald was working on The Last Tycoon at his death in 1940, and many critics rank his account of Hollywood at the height of the studio system, even in its unfinished state, as comparable to the achievement of The Great Gatsby.