Top 5 Wednesday: Books Featuring Mental Health

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Here are my reviews:

Too Bright to Hear too Loud to See, my review is here.

The Hours by Michael Cunningham  (I chose not to review this book, though it was interesting).

Looking For Alaska by John Green, my review is here.

Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald, while I have never reviewed this book, it is my favorite by Fitzgerald and was the first book I read that had mental illness as a topic. In the 1970s this was not very common–especially in a book in a high school library. I was on a Fitzgerald love affair at the time but this book gave me insight to some of the problems in my family that I had previously been too young to understand.

 

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Mr. Chartwell by Rebecca Hunt

(review from my old blog)

Mr. Chartwell is a delightful little book–how odd to say “delightful” about a story centered on depression! But, it IS delightful! (The book, of course, not depression!) It’s the week of Sir Winston Churchill’s long-long delayed retirement from Parliament. Now in his 89th year and only months from death, Sir Winston’s “black dog,” as he called depression, has come to life and is visiting House of Common’s library clerk, Esther who soon is called to a rendevous with destiny at Chartwell, Sir Winston’s home, as his substitute secretary. “Black Pat,” the dog who arrives at Esther’s home to rent her spare room and calling himself “Mr. Chartwell,” is the palpable presence of depression in the most literal sense. He is a huge, hairy black dog who tries to suck the life, the will, the energy out of his “clients.”

As a sufferer of depression who has been in what I call “the fog” of depression at various times since high school, I loved this book for the very real way it describes just what the “Black Dog” does to those of us whose lives it entangles. As the parent of a sufferer of depression, I wish this book had been around when my child was younger–it’s such a great way to help someone understand what depression does in a life.

As for the fateful meeting of Esther and Sir Winston, I’ll leave that for you to read about!

 

One Extra

 

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“The secret of contentment lay in ignoring many things completely.”

A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon

Rarely have I read people write such rude reviews of a book! I LOVED it.Here’s the trick: I had not read anything by Haddon before. I went on to enjoy The Red House, too. I have never made it thru the work he is so beloved for: Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

The Movie

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A Beautiful Mind still gives me the occasional nightmare and I saw it, shockingly, in the theater its first week out. I cried for days. What a torture they put him thru. Not for the faint of heart.

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Top Five Wednesday: Emerald [green dress] Covers

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I love to do copy cat cover posts. The green dress started appearing everywhere! I did an update on my green dress cover post [updated again in today’s post] to show the trend in real life at Prince Harry’s wedding. All kinds of green dresses!  While I cannot swear any of these are the color emerald, especially since one is nearly blue and another is a very pale green, but they form a nice coherent set of green dress covers, don’t they?

I think it is a crying shame that publishers think we are so stupid we will accidentally buy the wrong book! That’s what copy cat covers are all about, right? Yes, imitation is the highest form of flattery, but can’t cover designers have more originality? For the record, I’m also against “branded” covers–where all of an author’s books look alike. Are their stories that boring that they inspire no differences for the covers?

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Top 5 Wednesday is a group you can join on Goodreads.com. Each week participants write a blog post or make a Yutube video post to share their take on the week’s topic. Why not join in?

 

Top 5 Wednesday: Mothers Known or Remembered for Something Odd

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1. Queen Wilhelmenia of the Netherlands

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Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands is remembered for her heroic flight from the Nazis,  arriving in England in a nightgown, during World War II. But she may be remembered in a more cringe-worthy way for sending her daughter, Princess Juliana, to her wedding bed uneducated in the ways of that special night and wearing flannel underware! Source for the undies story: An American Princess: The Many Lives of Allene Tew.

2. Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy

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Mrs. Kennedy was looked on by many Americans as a sort of American Queen Mother. A three-time Gold Star mother, she lost one son in World War II, and two assassinated. Her fourth, Ted, was nearly killed in a plane crash. She also lost a daughter to an ill-advised lobotomy (about which she may not have been consulted) and another daughter died in a plane crash. She was and is revered. But she is also remembered for some interesting habits. First was her card file that recorded her 9 children’s illnesses and vaccinations. Second, was her habit of pinning notes to herself onto her clothes! These stories have been repeated in many Kennedy books and magazines.

3. Ruth Bell Graham

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Photo from https://billygraham.org/gallery/billy-and-ruth-graham-through-the-years/

Ruth, like Rose Kennedy, was long one of the most revered women in America as measured by various opinion polls. The wife of Evangelist Bill Graham, mother of Franklin, and Anne, and 3 others, she is perhaps best remembered for being able to wear her wedding gown on her 50th wedding anniversary, but also for keeping a wooden shoetree in her car to hit her son Franklin with when he mouthed off! See her wonderful memoir: Footprints of a Pilgrim.

4. Lucille O’Neal and 5. Deloris Jordan

 

Lucille O’Neal and her son Shaquille (left) Retrieved from here.
Deloris Jordan, mother of Michael Jordan, with Orpah Winfrey (right) retrieved from here.

Shaq’s Mom made quite an impression on me years ago on the Oprah Winfrey show. Deloris Jordan, Michael Jordan’s mother, did, too.  Both were concerned with their sons running thru their MBA money.  When new NBA player, Shaq wanted a new stereo. His mother made him do lay-a-way to get it! She also turned down a Mercedes saying her van was running fine. I believe she did, eventually, accept the Merc though! Lay-a-way Lucille is a true inspiration!

Michael Jordan’s mother and father traveled on the road with their son his first few years and Michael had to have his financial adviser call his mom and assure her that Michael could truly afford the mink coat he wanted to give her! Mrs. Jordan also emphasized that she was proud of ALL of her children–one of whom spent 30 years as a top enlisted man in the U.S. Army.

The episode of the Oprah Winfrey show was titled “Li’l Penny Meets Supermodel Tyra Banks,” and aired in 1997.

Extra! 6. Barbara Bush

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In addition to riding herd over future President G.W. Bush, and future Governor Jeb Bush, Barbara was wife to a President, a director of the CIA, an Ambassador to the UN and envoy to China–all George H.W. Bush. They had 6 children, a daughter, Robin, died as a little girl, while the others have all been very visibile on the national scence. Mrs. Bush’s one great quirk was her love of wearing mis-matched pairs of Keds sneakers! You can read the story here. It was also in her memoir. Sadly, I couldn’t find a photo of her in such a pair! Here is a photo of some of her collection:

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I could not identify who owns this photo. I found it here.

comment. And to all mothers, Happy Mother’s Day this Sunday!

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Top 5 Wednesday: Collectibles on Bookshelf

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I haven’t bought anything new since this post was done on Fandom items. My take on Fandom is pretty much my bookish collectibles so, here you go!

Here is the post, from April 25th of last year.

“Fandom” to me brings up YA/NA books. I’m just not that big on those genres. So, sorry, I don’t know which Hogwarts house I’m in. Couldn’t tell you the house colors, though I can name the houses. Instead here are a few of the “fan,” if not “fandom,” items I own.

The Beatles

These are my two newest fandom items! I found the Yellow Submarine first, then this week, I found the car. I cannot remember not knowing and loving the Beatles!

Sir Winston Churchill

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My parents gave me this silver WSC bookmark. (This is someone else’s photo of theirs). Mine lives in his daughter’s biography of Mrs. Churchill.

Royal Family

An English expatriate neighbor got my plate for me on a visit home. It was a Christmas gift the year of the wedding.

The solar waving queen–sans hat so it must have been an investiture! was found in a box of auction stuff, still in the original packaging, and given to me by a high school friend. I love her! She’s on my home desk.

Gone With the Wind

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These Avon figurines were another Christmas gift. I know many people love to make fun of “kitch” but I genuinely like these two–all the hours of fun those two characters have given me deserve recognition!

I have a collector’s plate that was a gift from a friend–I really love it. And, I have all kinds of little stuff- like refrigerator magnets on GWTW as well as several books on the making of the movie.

Currently, none of these are on display anyhere in my houses, but someday they will be in my home office.

I used to have a fabulous Clark Gable poster of this still from the movie, too.

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The VW Bus

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Two years ago, I devoted a blog post to my love of the old VWMicrobus. I really, really want one of the new ones to drive if they are ever available! This one, though, is just a desk toy. It’s bigger than a Matchbox or Hot Wheels, but not as big as an old-time Tonka truck. Perfect for my home desk. I love these so much, I have a Pinterest board devoted to them!

Any Fandom or merely Fan items in your home? Leave me a comment!

 

Top 5 Wednesday: Books You Thought You’d Hate But Ended Up Loving

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While I’ve numbered these, they are not ranked in any way–just put into a numbered list.

#1 Frankenstein

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I don’t enjoy being frightened or anxious. I’ve never voluntarily watched a horror movie.  But, I really enjoyed Frankenstein. There was an actual plot! Not just the monster that has been so often shown in cartoons. The writing was excellent–I could sense or feel the atmosphere.  Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.

#2 Cold Comfort Farm

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I tried this one in my twenties, but I wasn’t “mature” enough in British culture to understand it. When I listened to it in 2017 I howled with laughter and absolutely loved it. Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons. My review is here.

#3 Perks of Being a Wallflower

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I was in my 50s, the mom of two young adults, when I read this. I thought it would be stupid. Instead it was an epiphany. You can read about my experience here. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.

#4 A Wrinkle in Time

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Nothing could have made me read this one as a kid. As an adult it took quite a while, but I finally got over the “sci fi” label and read it. Wow! I loved it. It isn’t a sci fi story–it’s a family story. Had someone told me that in 5th grade…. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle.

#5 The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

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I really wasn’t sure a book with so much science involved would hold my attention. Was I wrong! The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.

Here is my review from my old blog:

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is a fascinating biography and science story all rolled into one. I know almost zip about science, but found myself sitting in the car listening to “just a little more” each day. A cell culture taken from a low-income African American woman turned out to be the golden-egg-laying-goose for science. That’s the simple part. The more intriguing part is the story of how Mrs. Lacks family dealt with this. Mrs. Lacks grew up in an isolated, impoverished area of Virginia that was kept cut-off from mainstream society by first slavery, then reconstruction and finally Jim Crow. Even in her current-day descendents there is a surreal innocence about science so much so that listening to it brought to mind not contemporary conversation, but a journal of Margaret Mead written on some forgotten island. It’s the harsh reality of what was done (and is still done) to African Americans in this country that makes this story so riveting. The Lacks family has endured some of the worst treatment this country can dole out. Henrietta, her elder daughter and consequently her younger daughter have suffered in ways that no middle class white woman like myself can even comprehend. This story will continue to beckon to Book Clubs for generations. Every woman alive should read it and be grateful for the medical advances that came thru Henrietta and to atone for the ill-treatment this family has suffered.

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Top 5 Wednesday & Top Ten Tuesday: Fiction On My Spring 2019 TBR

 

 

 

I’ve a whole lot of historical fiction coming up! I am funny about fictionalized stories of real people. I get put-off by silly historical errors, modern figures of speech or modern use of profanity and modern day opinions put on historical figures where there is no documentation to show they believed it. ther things that puts me off are stilted conversations in which it is explained who everyone is and why things are done this way and “filling” up space with newspaper headlines. If you read historical fiction you should understand history! Why can’t they put a “Cast of Characters” and some family trees and things like books used to do?

I get irritated, too,  at how often rival publishers seem to come up with competing “versions” of books. Two recent biographies of Rosemary Kennedy or the two biographies of Kick Kennedy–that sort of thing.  Recently  A Well Behaved Woman and now American Duchess, both look at the Vanderbilts. I gave up on the audio of A Well Behaved Woman for one of my pet peeves (not saying which one).

From the ten books above, The Editor is the one that intrigues me the most because Jackie O was of my lifetime. She became a cultural icon the year before I was born.

 

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Top 5 Wednesday is a group you can join on Goodreads.com. Each week participants write a blog post or make a Yutube video post to share their take on the week’s topic. Why not join in?

 

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Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl--here’s a link to the rules. Why not join in the fun next week?

Top 10 Tues/Top 5 Wed: Places Mentioned In Books That I’d Like to Visit Or Take a Date To

 

 

This week’s topics are so much alike that I’m doing a single post for both! Forgive me!

 

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Fictional Places I’d Like To Visit:

 

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Hogwarts

 

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Manderey

the house in Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca

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The Bookmobile

in The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

(might run into you-know-who)

 

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Marks & Cohen bookshop

in 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

 

 

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Brideshead

In Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

[or even the Castle Howard, the house that played it in the 80s tv version]

 

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Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

by Deborah Moggach

 

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The Casson Family‘s House

in Hilary McKay’s series

OR

The Penderwicks House on Gardham Street or the NY Apartment of the Melendy Family

 

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The Geisha’s training house

in Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

 

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The Professor’s study in his old house

(I know I’d be instantly “at home” there)

in The Professor’s House by Willa Cather

Read my review here

 

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Skeldale House

In James Herriot’s All Creatures books

 

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Bonus: The May of Teck Club

in Girls of Slender Means by Muriel Spark

Read my review here

 

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl--here’s a link to the rules. Why not join in the fun next week?

 

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Top 5 Wednesday is a group you can join on Goodreads.com. Each week participants write a blog post or make a Yutube video post to share their take on the week’s topic. Why not join in?

Places I’d Like to Take a Date To:

 

1. The B/B & Bistro in Three Pines owned by Gabri and Olivier in the Chief Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny.

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2. Any club where Tony and Chichi were singingTony’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani

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3. The Music Shop [book of same title] to find the VINYL records I stupidly gave away

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4. That amazing dinner in Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal

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Read my review here

 

5. The Miss Delta Floozy Contest in Waltzing at the Piggly Wiggly

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Review, from my old blog: What’s not to like about a small Southern town with a “Miss Delta Floozy” contest? Or, for that matter, what’s not to love about a 50-something widow finding love for the second time with a handsome man who used to own a ballroom dance studio? Second Creek, Mississippi, is a town you’d want to call your own. Full of loveable wackos–most of whom are faithful friends and helpful neighbors. Laurie Lapanto and her “Nit Wits”–a group of widows who support and care for each other have a large presence in this small town. And, when their beloved Mr. Choppy’s IGA store is threatened with closure they come up with a fabulous plan to save the story. An old rumor adds spice to the mix. Waltzing at the Piggly-Wiggly by Robert Dalby.

 

 

 

Top 5 Wednesday: Love Interests You Would Have Broken Up With

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Heathcliff

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Cathy should have run. And run and run and run. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.

 

 

Luke O’Neil

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Male-mate cultures are tough places for women. Tougher still is finding a good husband in one. Luke was too impressed with the sugar cane work and his “mate,” Arnie. [It occurs to me that today’s readers might think only of the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandals and might want to see Ralph’s interest in Meggie as something sick. Sad. It’s one of the great romances of 20th Century literature]. The Thornbirds by Coleen McCullough.

 

Oliver Barrett IV

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Jenny could have done so much better! He’s not from a culture that values marital fidelity. He is impressed with his own looks and he’s insecure as hell. Besides for the first 10 years he’ll do nothing but work endless hours at that pompas white shoe law firm to make partner. In his spare time he’ll play squash with fraternity brothers and chase secretaries. Love Story by Erich Segal.

 

Jay Gatsby

 

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Daisy should have seen thru this guy. Her husband, Tom, was certainly no prize either so I guess she just couldn’t pick ’em! The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

 

Charles Ryder

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Poor Charles. Can’t get over being born not really rich. Then there’s the trouble with the laws of the day that get in the way of living his life with another man. He’s lovely in every way, but he’ll never really be a ladies man. He can’t have the one of the fabulous Lord Marchmain’s children that he wants (Sebastian) so he settles for obnoxious Boy’s sister, but then decides to settle for Sebasatian’s sister. Or does he? He’s so confused.  Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh.

Top 5 Wednesday: Independent Ladies

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I’m skipping some really obvious ones like anyone in Harry Potter (there ARE great ones in there!) or Laura or Anne or Jo or other classic Independent gals. I’m also skipping political ones like Eleanor or Michelle or even Barbara Bush (the First Lady, not the granddaughter).  I wanted some different ones that those happening on this blog, possibly for the first time, haven’t necessarily heard of yet.

Fictional Women

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Mame Dennis was a master at re-inventing hereself way before the term was coined. Her approach to life was certainly unorthodox but also a lot of fun. Auntie Mame by Patrick Dennis–one of the first “grown up” laugh-out-loud books I read. I’ve re-read it countless times. She is beautifully played by Roslind Russell in the movie, Auntie Mame and less well by Lucille Ball in the musical Mame, but both versions are fun.

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First of all, purge from your mind the ridiculous Disney version with Julie Andrews.  I love it, too, (especially the penguins) but it is not the independent, devious, far-more-interesting Mary Poppins of the books. THAT Mary Poppins could have solved the Middle East crisis, or anything else, just with the contents of her carpet bag. Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers.

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Hester Latterly, a courageous young woman who tested her mettle as a nurse in Crimea with Florence Nightingale is about as independent as Victorian London allows a decently-born woman to be. She is one of the three main characters in this series. Note: The crimes in this series are often sexual so it may not be acceptable to all readers. I have read all but the latest 3 or 4 and only found 2 that really “got to me” in a bad way, but, Hester’s role was one of the things that compelled me to finish those two books. I haven’t reviewed most of these since series are difficult to review without spoilers for those just starting to read them. The William Monk series by Anne Perry.

Fictionalized Real-Life Woman

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British fossil collector/authority, Mary Anning was real and Tracy Chevalier brings her beautifully to life. Little is truly known about her beyond her contributions to science. Remarkable Creatures.

Real-Life Independent Women

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Dorothy Woodruff and Rosamond Underwood  (I’m counting them as “one” since they are in the same book) were bored to death at home with their parents, waiting for marriage, in 1916 Auburn, New York. So they decided to do something worthwhile and went out to the wilds of Colorado to teach school.  I can’t say enough good about these two, or about this book. Just read it! Nothing Daunted: The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the West.

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Top 5 Wednesday: Nostalgic Ships in TV or Movies

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Definition of “ships” for those who know them only as ocean-going vessels. This is TUMBLR speak for a fictional couple you love. Here’s my favorite illustration:

 

#1 Lady Edith and Sir Anthony

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They are usually known by a combined nickname. These two, Sir Anthony Strallan and Lady Edith Crawley from Seasons 1 and 3 of Downton Abbey are known as “Andith.” [And, no, I don’t care that Edith finally found love and got to outrank nasty Mary!] People, me included, have written fan fiction about them and other such couples. They are my number one SHIP–the first of the genre. You all know I love older man romances that are the real McCoy–no sugar daddy stuff!

 

#2 Scarlett and Rhett

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Gone With the Wind

Gone With The Wind produced the only ‘ship to use one person’s name: Scarl-ett! The grand parents of the people who created the ship concept weren’t even born yet when this one came out in 1939. They were my first ever obsession!  There is even more to love about this relationship in the book–the movie just couldn’t cover it all.

 

#3 Arthur and Guinevere

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An aging Arthur (Sean Connnery) is cockolded by Richard Geer as Lancelot. Julia Ormand is the gorgeous young Guinevere. This one, too, pre-dates the SHIP concept b a few decades, having been released in 1995.  First Knight is the movie.

 

#4 Helene and Frank

 

 

 

I read this book when it came out in the 1970s. I love both it and the film–a rare occurance! While not a true romance, it has all the feels (if you ship you have feels). The film link. The movie includes an early Judy Dench apperance as Frank’s wife.

 

# 5 Jack and Joy

 

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Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger as C.S. Lewis and Joy Davidman in Shadowlands. It includes an early acting role for Julian Fellowes, creator of Downton Abbey, too.

 

 

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