‘It was just magic, and magic is always an unaccountable thing.’
We’re pleased to announce that we’re publishing Blue Remembered Hills by Rosemary Sutcliff in a handsome new Plain Foxed Edition. This memoir was the first title we published in our series of limited-edition pocket hardbacks all those years ago, and it’s a pleasure to make it available to our readers again. Officially published on 1 March, the good folk at Smith Settle have provided us with advance copies fresh off the printing press to fulfil orders that have already been placed – and that may be placed very soon.
Rosemary Sutcliff was born in 1920, the only child of a naval father and a pretty, manicdepressive mother with bags of charm and a wild imagination. As a child Rosemary suffered from the juvenile arthritis known as Still’s Disease, which burned its way through her, leaving her permanently disabled, yet Blue Remembered Hills is the very opposite of a misery memoir. It is a record of the growing up and making of a writer, and it is full of humour, affection, joy in people and the natural world, and the kind of deep understanding that can come out of hard experiences.
In some ways, hers was an enchanted childhood, lived among the vivid sights and sounds of the dockyards, which would later feed into her books. When her father retired from the sea the family moved to Torrington in North Devon, and at fourteen Rosemary went to Bideford Art School, becoming a skilled miniaturist. In time, though, feeling cramped by the small canvas of her paintings, isolated in the country and wounded in love, she turned to writing. She is perhaps most famous for her series of Roman novels which tell the story of the Roman occupation of Britain through the fortunes of several generations of the Aquila family, and we’re delighted to be reissuing them with their original illustrations in our Slightly Foxed Cubs series.
Rosemary Sutcliff brought the past vividly to life for generations of children, and Blue Remembered Hills is the vivid and touching memoir of her own childhood.
Please read the newsletter for an excerpt from Chapter 12 of this beloved book – about a beloved book. We do hope you’ll enjoy it.
With best wishes from the SF office staff,
Jennie, Anna, Hattie, Jess & Helen