Author(s): Rachel Ferguson
As growing up in pre-war London looms large in the lives of the Carne sisters, Deirdre, Katrine and young Sheil still share an insatiable appetite for the fantastic. Eldest sister Deirdre is a journalist, Katrine a fledgling actress and young Sheil is still with her governess; together they live a life unchecked by their mother in their bohemian town house. Irrepressibly imaginative, the sisters cannot resist making up stories as they have done since childhood; from their talking nursery toys, Ironface the Doll and Dion Saffyn the pierrot, to their fulsomely-imagined friendship with real high-court Judge Toddington who, since Mrs Carne did jury duty, they affectionately called Toddy. However, when Deirdre meets Toddy's real-life wife at a charity bazaar, the sisters are forced to confront the subject of their imaginings. Will the sisters cast off the fantasies of childhood forever? Will Toddy and his wife, Lady Mildred, accept these charmingly eccentric girls? And when fancy and reality collide, who can tell whether Ironface can really talk, whether Judge Toddington truly wears lavender silk pyjamas or whether the Brontes did indeed go to Woolworths? The Brontes Went to Woolworths is part of The Bloomsbury Group, a new library of books from the early twentieth-century chosen by readers for readers.
A suffragette at 16, an actress, a dancer and a critic, Rachel Ferguson's novels draw on her extraordinary life This whimsical masterpiece (first published in 1931), a favourite of A. S. Byatt and buzzed about across many literary blogs, is long due a revival Combining the bohemian eccentricity of Nancy Mitford's novels and Noel Streatfield's Ballet Shoes, The Brontes Went To Woolworths is sheer escapist joy
'The Brontes Went to Woolworths is about the imagination. It is marvellously successful' A.S Byatt 'The family at its most eccentric and bohemian - a pure concoction of wonderful invention. What an extraordinary meeting I have just had with the Carnes' Dovegreyreader 'Charming and zany' stuckinabook.blogspot 'A wonderful mix between reality and fantasy' aladybugsbooks.blogspot
Rachel Ferguson was born in 1893 in Hampton Wick. Rachel was educated privately, before being sent to finishing school in Italy. She flaunted her traditional upbringing to become a vigorous campaigner for women's rights and member of the WSPU. In 1911 Rachel Ferguson became a student at the Academy of Dramatic Art. She enjoyed a brief though varied career on the stage, cut short by the First World War. After service in the Women's Volunteer Reserve she began writing in earnest. Working as a journalist at the same time as writing fiction, Rachel Ferguson started out as 'Columbine', drama critic on the Sunday Chronicle. False Goddesses, her first novel, was published in 1923. A second novel The Brontes Went to Woolworths did not appear until 1931, but its wide acclaim confirmed Rachel Ferguson's position in the public eye. Over the next two decades she wrote extensively and published eight more novels. Rachel Ferguson lived in Kensington until her death in 1957.