My enormous thanks to Diana Morgan at Ruth Killick PR for introducing me to the Macmillan’s Collector’s Library and arranging for two books, Ross Poldark and Demelza to be sent to me for review.
Launched on July 13th 2016, more details about the Macmillan’s Collectors Library and a variety of purchase links can be found here.
Macmillan Collector’s Library
Macmillan revives the tradition of beautifully crafted books with the launch of Macmillan Collector’s Library, a highly-collectable selection of some of the best-loved titles in the literary canon.
Not just beautiful to look at, but also to hold and to read
Publisher Harriet Sanders set out to create editions that would ‘feel special and do justice to the stories you treasure’, and the books do both look and feel beautiful, with gilt edges, sumptuous cloth bindings, ribbon bookmarks, and arts-and-crafts-style endpapers. At the same time the durable pocket-sized format ensures they are as handy and easy-to-read as paperbacks, because the editorial team were adamant they didn’t want them to be ‘just for on shelves, we want them to also be the books you’d choose to carry around with you to actually read, and look forward to seeing on your bedside table when you wake up.’
Not just admired classics, but classics to be cherished
Alongside many of the usual stalwarts of the literary canon, the final list also included plenty of titles not traditionally labelled ‘classics’, such as Bridget Jones, The Thorn Birds, and Clan of the Cave Bear. So choosing titles for inclusion in Macmillan Collector’s Library was a daunting responsibility. Harriet was keen to include titles ‘people want to collect and own not just because they are admired classics, but because they mean something special to them, perhaps because they loved it as child, or simply that it made them laugh or cry at an important moment in their lives’, so favourites such as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Poldark appear alongside David Copperfield and Emma. This eclectic approach will continue over the years to ensure that Macmillan Collector’s Library truly reflects the nation’s favourite reads.
The books writers love to read
As an extra bonus, each book in the collection has its own introduction or afterword, each specially commissioned from a well-known writer, including writers such as Christina Hardyment, Liz Fenwick, Sara Paretsky, Paul Bailey, and Val McDermid.
Titles to be published in hardback including:
- Dairy of a Provincial Lady by E M Delafield
- My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell
- Peter Pan by J M Barrie
- The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
- Ross Poldark by Winston Graham
- Demelza by Winston Graham
- A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
- For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
- Doctor Thorne by Anthony Trollope
- Classic Locked Room Mysteries
- Chitty, Chitty Bang Bang by Ian Fleming
- Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
- Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
- Emma by Jane Austen
- Persuasion by Jane Austen
- Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
- Sanditon, Lady Susan, & The History of England by Jane Austen
- Collected Poems by W B Yeats
- The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley
- Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
- Alice in Wonderland Everlasting Diary
- The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
- Dracula by Bram Stoker
My Review of Ross Poldark and Demelza
I can’t believe I’m about to do this in a so-called review, but apart from the afterwords by Liz Fenwick, I haven’t actually read Ross Poldark and Demelza yet. However, I am so enraptured by these gorgeous editions that I had to share them with you – especially with Christmas coming up as they would make the most fabulous gifts for any book lover. I know I’ll be putting several on my wishlist (especially the Thomas Hardy editions) to family and friends as well as buying them as gifts for others. I always read Dickens’ A Christmas Carol at Christmas every year so that’s going to be my first purchase.
Despite the desires of the publishing team that these are editions to be read, I really just want to stroke my copies. They are so beautiful. The slip covers feel silky to the touch and the gold writing and slip flaps convey quality and opulence. I love the William Morris style end papers and gilt page edges. It’s like holding a jewel in the hand. The addition of a ribbon bookmark takes the reader back to a time when books were to be cherished and not just bought as cheaply as possible to lie unread on an e-reader.
And these are indeed books to be read. Usually hard backed copies are bulky and heavy so that they are not especially portable. Not so with the Macmillan Collector’s Library. Each is a perfect size for a pocket or a bag so that it would be easy to take them on a commute or trip for example.
So, to the part I actually have read – the Afterwords by Liz Fenwick. Liz evokes the passion of Winston Graham’s writing, explaining the geographical, political, historical and literary links to the books with a wonderful dexterity so that, in a few short pages, I felt I had a depth of understanding and had learnt more about the author and the books than the previous 55 years of my life had afforded. Having watched the original television series of Poldark as well as the more recent version, I had no idea that in the 1970s vicars were known to move their evening services to accommodate viewers!
I’m in love with these editions of Ross Poldark and Demelza and having browsed the books in the Macmillan Collector’s Library I want them all. I’m sure you’ll find something there to cherish too.
About Winston Graham
You can find out more on the official Winston Graham and Poldark website.
About Liz Fenwick
Writer, ex-pat expert, wife, mother of three, and dreamer turned doer….
Award winning author of The Cornish House, A Cornish Affair, A Cornish Stranger and Under A Cornish Sky. After nine international moves, Liz is a bit of a global nomad. It’s no wonder her heart remains in Cornwall.
Liz Fenwick’s novels can be found for purchase here.