Meet Reader of the Month, Emma Moyle, who talks about her love of historical romance, Gone with the Wind and her latest book reviews.
Where in the world are you?
I’m from South Wales but I’ve somehow ended up in North Oxfordshire. It’s a beautiful, if expensive, part of the world and I love the fact that I’m roughly equidistant from the RSC in Stratford upon Avon and the bookshops of Oxford.
Do you have a day job and what do you do?
By trade, I’m an English teacher. I’m currently on a career break at the moment whilst my family is young but I’m looking forward to getting back into the classroom soon. I’m lucky to have a job where I get to talk about books a lot.
How long have you been reading romance?
I think I’ve always read Romance novels – as a younger reader, I loved M. E. Kerr’s I Stay Near You (I
think I read it all in visits to the W.H. Smith’s in Swansea) and I had an abridged version of Wuthering Heights (I still thought of it as a romance in those days …). I then moved onto Danielle Steel’s hardbacks in my local library and devoured them all. I’m not sure I’d like them now, but as a teenager, I thought they were amazing. One of my assignments as an undergrad was to write three chapters of a romance novel – it was at this point that I realised how hard it is to do well!
What is your favorite theme?
I like historical romances best – the details have to be spot-on so that there’s no awkward jarring, and I like to be swept off into a world that is very different to the one I inhabit. Elisabeth Hobbes is a friend of mine and I always look forward to a new novel from her. Having said I like to read about a world different from my own, her latest heroine in Redeeming the Rogue Knight felt very familiar in the struggles she faces in the medieval world of male power. I guess I’m largely interested in women’s lives and how such characters survive and find fulfilment.
What kind of story would you like to see written?
Oh – tricky! I’ve realised I’m no plot writer and so I find it difficult to imagine stories which aren’t already on the page. I suppose the ones I really enjoy are perhaps where women overcome obstacles and thrive on their own terms. I’d like to read something set in the Welsh valleys perhaps, something relating to turmoil of the Nineteenth Century. I think this could provide rich pickings!
How many books do you read in a week/month/year?
In my pre-parent-life, I read huge numbers of books, sometimes one a day during long holidays. Now… not so much. However, I have now started blogging my reviews of novels and so I’m finding a bit more time. I tend to manage about two a week if I’m lucky and if the household remains germ-free!
Which author/s books are an auto buy for you?
I haven’t actually got a ‘must-have’ writer at the moment. I rely on my local library and on books sent for review, so I will pretty much devour whatever I can get my hands on (this is probably a consequence of my recent reading-drought).
If your home was on fire which book would you save?
This is an easy one – my copy of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind! It’s the copy I read as a 13 year old and it has Vivien Leigh in a white dress running down the driveway of Tara on the cover. This was such a memorable reading experience – I lost days to this book and felt utterly bereft when I finished it – that it has to be this book, and this copy specifically.
What is the book you’d hands down recommend to our readers?
I’d obviously recommend Elisabeth Hobbes’ writing, particularly her latest one, and (and I know I’m trying to sneak in another one here) I’d also plump for the novel I’ve just finished: Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus. It has a very moving and powerful central relationship (I won’t say any more…)
And what are you reading now?
I’m about to finish a new novel, A Pearl for My Mistress, by Annabel Fielding. Set in the interwar years, It’s due out in November and I’m reviewing it for my blog.
If you'd like to learn more about Emma, her love of reading and lack of liquorice-based confections, catch up with her here on her blog, or Twitter.