6 Degrees of Separation: From Dickensian London to the Teifi Valley #6Degrees  

It’s the first Saturday of the month so it’s 6 Degrees of Separation time!

Here’s how it works: a book is chosen as a starting point by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best and linked to six other books to form a chain. Readers and bloggers are invited to join in by creating their own ‘chain’ leading from the selected book.

Kate says: Books can be linked in obvious ways – for example, books by the same authors, from the same era or genre, or books with similar themes or settings. Or, you may choose to link them in more personal or esoteric ways: books you read on the same holiday, books given to you by a particular friend, books that remind you of a particular time in your life, or books you read for an online challenge. Join in by posting your own six degrees chain on your blog and adding the link in the comments section of each month’s post.   You can also check out links to posts on Twitter using the hashtag #6Degrees

This month’s starting book is, appropriately enough, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Click on the title to read the book description on Goodreads or my review, as appropriate.

A Christmas Carol is one of the best-loved of all Dickens’ works and reading it (or watching a film or TV adaptation of it) is definitely an annual tradition in our house.  Charles Dickens edited a weekly magazine, Household Words, published every Saturday from 1850 to 1859.  One of the authors who contributed to Household Words was Elizabeth Gaskell.  A number of the stories in her Gothic Tales appeared in Household Words, often at Christmas, including ‘Disappearances’, ‘The Old Nurse’s Story’ and ‘The Squire’s Story’.

Aside from her novels, Elizabeth Gaskell is probably best known for her biography of Charlotte Brontë, author of Jane Eyre.   Jane Eyre tells the story of a young governess hired by the brooding, proud Edward Rochester of Thornfield Hall to care for his ward Adèle.

A whole shelf of copies of Jane Eyre are to be found in the library of the house of the mysterious and reclusive author, Vida Winter, in The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. In fact, the book Jane Eyre becomes the subject of a very strange test put to the narrator.

In The Thirteenth Tale, the narrator is charged by Miss Winter with writing a true account of her life, rather than just the stories she’s previously made up when asked questions.  Storytelling also plays a central role in States of Passion by Nihad Sirees (the chosen book in the November Reading In Heels subscription box).    A man stranded in the countryside during a raging storm seeks refuge in an isolated mansion inhabited by an elderly gentleman who starts to tell him a story of family secrets.

Mrs DanversThe only other occupant of the house is a servant who is unwelcoming at best.  A malevolent servant also features in Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier in the person of the housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers (memorably played in the original film version by Judith Anderson).

One of the key events in Rebecca is an inquest that takes place when a body is discovered following a storm.  An inquest into a body discovered by chance also features in None So Blind by Alis Hawkins.  The verdict (unsatisfactory as far as some are concerned) results in the main character and his assistant embarking on an investigation to try to uncover the truth of the cause of death and the possible perpetrator.

Next month’s starting book is The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles. Why not join in when Six Degrees returns on 5th January 2019.


6 thoughts on “6 Degrees of Separation: From Dickensian London to the Teifi Valley #6Degrees  

  1. Very clever first link! I was trying to think of other authors who contributed to magazines in a similar way and realised that my chain ended with one this month! (Cheryl Strayed’s Dear Sugar column was part of the magazine, The Rumpus).


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