84 Comments
Jan 13Liked by Rebecca Holden

I had to stop reading this post to tell you about a 3’6 edition of Rebecca which belonged to my mother (as a child I thought the numbers stood for 3ft 6inches, a very short person!)

In 1942 my father was in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve and when he had shore leave my mother travelled to Portsmouth to visit him. As she boarded her train for the return journey he handed her a hardback copy of the said book. She was working as a landgirl, living in a Romany caravan on a farm at the time so he had inscribed it to “my darling gypsy”. Nine months later my brother was born!

Unfortunately I don’t have the book.

Back to the rest of your post while I drink my coffee.

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Jan 13Liked by Rebecca Holden

I am ALL about old book! My barn-board bookshelves are living proof.

Thanks for the 💜

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Love to see the dog ear on page 49. I wonder if they have my 50-page rule: if you’re not into a book by page 50, move along to something else.

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“The book had been printed in Bungay, Suffolk, England, but thanks to the rubber-stamped text in purple ink on an early page I can see that Frank had bought it at a bookshop more local to him.”

Lovely little detail!

I’ve been known to haunt a few used bookstores and when a copy has a stamp or two it just hits different. I think of it like a passport, and in your case it virtually is.

My favorite stamp was a reader’s stamp. It said, ‘to those who read this, I’m dead.’ I suppose a little grim, but as someone who will only reluctantly allow my books to be sold once I die I identified strongly with the sentiment.

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Thanks for explaining British money in the footnotes- although I still don't know much a guinea equals...

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I read to the bottom and had to look up when the song by Tom T. Hall came out with Harper Valley PTA. 1968, and became a major international hit single for country singer Jeannie C. Riley. (I’m sure it was inspired by the book Peyton Place.)

Hall said the song was based on a true story of a “free spirited single mom who challenged the small town’s social conventions, where she too showed up at a PTA meeting and berated the members for their indiscretions and hypocracy.”

I too was raised in a small town in New England and the song came out when I was sixteen and rang so true for that era. What am I saying for THAT ERA? It seems in the small town I now live, not more than 40 minutes north of where I was living at 16 yo, the double standard is still alive and well and the hypocracy lives on. I could tell some saucy stories of what it was like as a Hog Farmer’s daughter growing up in white bread America in the 1960’s.

It seems the more things change, the more they stay the same--or go backward... and I’m gonna quite there.

As usual another tres interesting read--really Gail, you can do better that,--Ok, another AWESOME post! And thank you for pardoning me if I wanted to skip over the schematics of cavitation. I got down about four paragraphs before my mind took a vacation...🤗

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Thank you. Whenever they mentioned money in old British stories, I used to get really confused. I won't as much now.

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Jan 13Liked by Rebecca Holden

Rebecca is one of my favorite novels and to find such a sweet inscription in it --from Singapore!! How fun!

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Jan 13Liked by Rebecca Holden

So many diversions! I love the little bear next to ‘Rebecca’ (the book). Lots to love, as always. You’re an observational genius. Grin.

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Wonderful story and sleuthing. Love the old note from Frank to his wife. I hope they had a lovely life together.

The pump book! It will be interesting to compare the changes.

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In a bookshop in Westleton I came across a similar inscription. The owner and I had a discussion about what happened to these people? Why did the book end up in a used bookstore 50 years later? Very poignant. It's here, under Barnabees Books, if you're interested:

https://open.substack.com/pub/terryfreedman/p/start-the-week-45?r=18suih&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web

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Building on your Singapore vanished street, I always find it interesting, and sad in a way, to see the changes in one's local area. The central library where I live has photos of the area going back 100 years. It's fascinating.

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In my youth I watched a TV series called Peyton Place, starring Dorothy Malone and a very young Mia Farrow. It was ridiculously over the top. But then I read the book and discovered (a) it was very enjoyable and (b) that the TV series bore almost no resemblance to the book 😹

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Great history of books and I do think all follow my big rule as an author: "Only buy a used book if the author is dear"; otherwise the author never sees a dime ... Excellent post, Rebecca, as always.

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Jan 13Liked by Rebecca Holden

I so entirely enjoyed the rabbit-hole journey about the Rebecca book. So glad to find a kindred spirit who will Google an address from 1948 to see what it looks like today 🤣 Thank you so much for the mention - and also, Amie's window post was one of my favorites, too! So entirely heart-warming 💕

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Jan 13·edited Jan 13Liked by Rebecca Holden

Such a seemingly incongruous gathering of books. They have nothing in common other than to let you practice one of your primary arts, Rebecca: sleuthing! You are so good at it. This post reminds me a bit of your "found grocery list" posts and how you were able to build a story by seeking out easily over-looked clues. You are one of the finest Sherlocks I have ever ( not yet ) met. Jim is your Watson, I presume?

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