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The best Sheila Bishop books?

 
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karen_ling17



Joined: 17 May 2007
Posts: 32
Location: Malaysia

PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 9:07 pm    Post subject: The best Sheila Bishop books? Reply with quote

Hi everyone,

I've just discovered Sheila Bishop and am now reading The Second Husband which I'm enjoying very much - a hundred pages just flew by while I was reading last night. It would be great if anyone out there who has read her can give me some recommendations on what to read next. It's proving very difficult to find synopses and reviews of her books online. So far, I have A Speaking Likeness in my TBR pile but that's all. Any help would be appreciated!

Karen Smile
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PatW



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 639
Location: Gulf coast Florida

PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A Speaking Likeness is my absolute favorite Shelia Bishop - it even makes my top 25 list. The other on my keeper shelf is A Wilderness Walk - neither are as complex as I remember A Second Husband to be. I have read several other by her but haven't kept them. A Durable Fire is set in the Elizabethan period and takes place over a period of years.

One of the better writers from the 1970s - IMO.

Let me know if you are interested in the blurb description from TWW.
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Elaine S



Joined: 02 Apr 2007
Posts: 667
Location: Rural England

PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow - talk about a real DIK Oldie but Goodie author! I also have "A Speaking Likeness" on my keeper shelf - I have always secretly thought of strawberries as "torbies" (as the little boy called them!!) ever since I read this story too many years ago.

This also takes me back to the days of Paula Allardyce and Alice Chetwynd Ley. I just looked at my list of books I want to find new homes for and see I have 13 ACL titles and 10 of PA's.
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PatW



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 639
Location: Gulf coast Florida

PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Elaine S
I read both Allerdyce and Ley but none have remaind on my keeper shelf. Did you also read Sylvia Thorpe? I have several of hers on my keeper shelf too.
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Susan/DC



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 1664

PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 9:31 pm    Post subject: Sheila Bishop Reply with quote

Sheila Bishop is somewhat problematic for me. She is a good writer, her stories seem true to the period (whether Elizabethan, Georgian, or Regency), and her characters come alive. However, at times I have a hard time finding her books romantic. For example, in The Rules of Marriage, the heroine is 17 and marries a man more than a decade older. After the birth of their son, he leaves her alone on their country estate while he goes to London to serve in the House of Lords. She is lonely, feels neglected, and has an affair. He then exiles her to another estate. Eventually they reconcile. It's all quite realistic, but she's such a child for much of the book and he treats her as such. It's not at all what I find appealing in a romance novel, where I like the relationship to be more balanced. This is not uncommon in her books. OTOH, I've kept many of her books, so clearly there's something I like about them.
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Elaine S



Joined: 02 Apr 2007
Posts: 667
Location: Rural England

PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2008 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PatW wrote:
Elaine S
I read both Allerdyce and Ley but none have remaind on my keeper shelf. Did you also read Sylvia Thorpe? I have several of hers on my keeper shelf too.


Yes I did but those seem to have gone long ago ..............
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karen_ling17



Joined: 17 May 2007
Posts: 32
Location: Malaysia

PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2008 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi everyone,

I just finished reading A Speaking Likeness and it was excellent, I found the whole mystery of who Hop's father was really intriguing. I think Bishop has a gift for creating really rounded, believably flawed characters. I sympathised with all the characters in that book even when they did things that you don't think of as honourable.

Pat W, it would be great if you could give me a synopsis of A Wilderness Walk.

Susan/DC, I've just mooched (bookmooch.com) The Rules of Marriage so we'll see how it goes.

Also I see that Sylvia Thorpe has been mentioned? Does she write in a similar style to Sheila Bishop? And if so, I'd love recommendations of specific titles.

Thanks!
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LinnieGayl



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 824

PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2008 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd never heard of Sheila Bishop until this thread. I did a search for her on Amazon, and discovered a number of books (from the 1970s) by a Sheila Bishop. One of them is entitled Bath Assembly. Is that the Sheila Bishop you mean? If so, has anyone read Bath Assembly, because I really enjoy books set in Bath.
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PatW



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 639
Location: Gulf coast Florida

PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2008 11:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

karen_ling17 wrote:

Pat W, it would be great if you could give me a synopsis of A Wilderness Walk.


Here's the blurb - not sure why Lavinia is described in detail (I left parts of it out) since Caroline is the heroine.

Lavinia Reed, classically beautiful with hair the color of moonlight (blah blah) is uncharacteristically horrified when her husband announces that she is to take her annual holiday at Martland Farm in Cleave for he doesn't know that Cleave, many years in the past had been the setting for his wife's misbegotten romance with the perplexing Lord Francis Aubrey. Stifling these unpleasant memories, Lavinia journeys to Cleave accompanied by the maiden sister, Caroline Prior. There the two women are thrust into the midst of a romantic intrigue revolving around none other than the enigmatic Lord Francis...

Quote:

Also I see that Sylvia Thorpe has been mentioned? Does she write in a similar style to Sheila Bishop? And if so, I'd love recommendations of specific titles.


Sylvia Thorpe's books are a bit more lighthearted than Bishop IMO, but similar in style of writing - perhaps it is the time they were written. Thorpe wrote in the 1960s and Bishop in the 1970s. My favorites are Romantic Lady, The Silver Nightingale, and The Varleigh Medallion

Yes, Bath Assembly is by the Shelia Bishop we are discussing - I can't say I remember it though.
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belize



Joined: 26 Jul 2007
Posts: 48

PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really like Sheila Bishop's books, but I don't find them romantic. There is too much realism in the relationships between the heroines and heroes.

Bath Assembly (also titled The Parson's Daughter in a later edition) is Georgian and somewhat reminiscent of Northanger Abbey. The heroine is naive and makes a lot of mistakes about people. She becomes infatuated with a man who turns out to be a cad. A neighbor from back home is the man she turns to when she has difficulties, though she initially disliked him.

My favorite of her Regency/ Georgian books are:
A Speaking Likeness (some people above have already mentioned they like it)
and
A Well-Matched pair (I seem to remember some people mentioning they disliked this book since the hero's personality is somewhat glacial, and he is a married man when he gets emotionally involved with the heroine)
and
Rosalba (again, there is infidelity, since the heroine is a married woman whose husband abandoned her)

Other regency/georgian books which I thought were OK were:
The Phantom Garden
Lucasta

There were some I didn't care for:
The Rules of Marriage
Fair Game
Honora Clare (also titled The School in Belmont)
Consequences
The Wilderness Walk.


I've liked all of the Elizabethan novels which I've read:
The Second Husband
The Durable Fire
The Favourite Sister
Sweet Nightingale
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LinnieGayl



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 824

PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Belize, for the info about Bath Assembly.
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Susan/DC



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 1664

PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 8:39 pm    Post subject: Sheila Bishop Reply with quote

PatW wrote:
karen_ling17 wrote:

Pat W, it would be great if you could give me a synopsis of A Wilderness Walk.


Here's the blurb - not sure why Lavinia is described in detail (I left parts of it out) since Caroline is the heroine.

Lavinia Reed, classically beautiful with hair the color of moonlight (blah blah) is uncharacteristically horrified when her husband announces that she is to take her annual holiday at Martland Farm in Cleave for he doesn't know that Cleave, many years in the past had been the setting for his wife's misbegotten romance with the perplexing Lord Francis Aubrey. Stifling these unpleasant memories, Lavinia journeys to Cleave accompanied by the maiden sister, Caroline Prior. There the two women are thrust into the midst of a romantic intrigue revolving around none other than the enigmatic Lord Francis...


I thoroughly disliked A Wilderness Walk and it's one of the Bishop books I gave away as soon as possible. I found the hero totally obnoxious. Even her best heroes tend to be overbearing, and Sir Francis was described in physically unappealing terms, was considerably older than Caroline, was glacial rather than enigmatic, and just seemed a nasty piece of work to me. However, YMMV.
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PatW



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 639
Location: Gulf coast Florida

PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 12:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I will agree the Shelia Bishop's books tend to have a great deal of realism (dare I say historical accuracy) which can make any one of them not to a particular taste. For instance, I should have noted the age discrepancy between Caroline and Lord Francis in the above discussed The Wilderness Walk.

However if you are tired of heroes who are tall dark and handsome - and have alpha male tendencies, I think you might find Bishop's heroes very interesting though not necessarily yummy.

I recall that although I really liked several of hers (and have them still), I read others that I can't remember. So don't judge all her books by your reaction to only one of them.

On another note - you will definitely find Sylvia Thorpe's books to be "romantic".
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belize



Joined: 26 Jul 2007
Posts: 48

PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I looked at my list of Sheila Bishop books and see that I left off one of her Elizabethan books that I found enjoyable.

It was "Goldsmith's Row"

it was a little unusual in that it does not deal with the aristocracy or even gentry. The family involved is a well-to-do artisan family (goldsmiths like the title indicates)
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karen_ling17



Joined: 17 May 2007
Posts: 32
Location: Malaysia

PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2008 3:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PatW,

Thanks very much for the synopsis of Wilderness Walk and the other recommendations. I will be definitely watching out for them.

Maybe it's best to view her books as historical novels with a romantic element? I like her heroes as a change from the usual fare :)

Karen
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