Your Lake District Reading List: a Little InspirationBACK
4th March 2021
This week was World Book Day and it got us thinking about what books we would include on our Lake District holiday reading list.
The burning question is where do you even start? With literally millions of books from which to choose, this could be a daunting task. So we decided to focus our search close to home. After all, the Lake District is well-known for its wonderful literary heritage, boasting an array of writing talent including William Wordsworth, Beatrix Potter and Arthur Ransome, to name just a few.
The Complete Works of William Wordsworth may be perfect if you’re a lover of poetry. And for the younger members of the family, you can’t go wrong with Peter Rabbit and Swallows and Amazons. But we’re looking for real page-turners. Something you can lose yourself in, whether you’re relaxing in the garden or curled up in front of a roaring fire.
Our final list features a number of excellent books, all of which are set in the Lake District. We haven’t read them all, but based on the reviews, they’re definitely on our list.
The Grave Tattoo by Val McDermid
It’s summer in the Lake District, and heavy rains have uncovered a tattooed body. Could it be linked to rumours that Fletcher Christian, mutinous first mate on the Bounty, did secretly return to England, where he was sheltered by Lakeland poet, William Wordsworth?
Local Wordsworth specialist, Jane Gresham, wants to find out. But as she follows each lead, death is hard on her heels. Jane soon finds herself at the heart of a 200-year-old mystery that still puts lives at risk.
Haweswater by Sarah Hall
Haweswater tells the tale of a centuries-old community that has survived into the 1930s largely unchanged, until Jack Liggett arrives from the city.
Liggett is a spokesperson for a Manchester waterworks company which has designs on a vast new reservoir. The valley in which the community has stood for hundreds of years will be evacuated, flooded, devastated.
This is a story of love, obsession and the destruction of a community.
The Windermere Witness by Rebecca Tope
Florist Persimmon ‘Simmy’ Brown has moved to the Lake District following a personal tragedy, content to lose herself in her work. But the peace is short-lived when, at the wedding of a millionaire’s daughter, the bride’s brother is found dead in the lake.
As the wedding florist, and one of the last people to speak to Mark Baxter alive, Simmy becomes embroiled in the relatives’ grief and anger.
When events take another sinister turn, Simmy finds herself at the very heart of a murder investigation.
The Woman from Browhead by Audrey Howard
If the psychological / crime genre isn’t your thing, how about a bit of historical romance? Set in the late 1840s and early 1850s, The Woman from Browhead tells the story of Annie Abbott, daughter and only child of a poverty-stricken Lake District farmer, who ran away with a theatre group at the age of fifteen.
Hearing that her parents have died, she returns to lay claim to the farm. But with an illegitimate child in tow, virtually no-one will speak to her, with the exception of a local landowner. But he is engaged to marry another woman.
All Quiet on the Orient Express by Magnus Mills
This is one we haven’t read yet but will be doing so very soon. By all accounts it’s hard to pigeon-hole in terms of genre; possibly a ‘tragi-comedy’. It’s been described as weird, funny, quirky. Perhaps it’s this ‘hard to define’ element which makes it all the more appealing.
As for the plot itself, it’s the end of the Summer in the Lake District, the sun is lower in the sky and the tourists have gone home. Our unnamed narrator decides to spend a few weeks in the Lake District, enjoying the quiet, before embarking on a motorcycle trip to India.
The book description reads: “But then the owner of the campsite asks him to paint a fence and he innocently obliges. Soon other odd jobs pile up until little by little he becomes ensnared in the ominous ‘out-of-season’.
We hope this Lake District holiday reading list provides a little inspiration. If you fancy buying something while you’re staying in the Lakes, why not pop into Fred’s Bookshop where you will find a diverse range of books.