Winter-Spring Garden (Post 75)
Winter-Spring Garden (1984), is another book in the loose series in which Amber Dale plays some part. She also features in Down River (Post 53), Another Good Friend (Post 16) and The Suitcase (Post 74) but this is the first published book in which she is the main character. This is another book whose cover I love, and the house pictured is so much like the one my grandmother had that I think I must have provided the illustrator with a photograph. It's just too close to be a coincidence. It's over thirty years ago, though, and I don't remember.
Winter-Spring Garden, unlike the other stories in this series, is a fantasy. The house that inspired it (the same house that inspired The Room Upstairs, Post 63) really did have the garden described in the story and the old plum tree pictured here still stands there in 2017.
In this book, Amber, usually an over-achiever and all-round little madam, is sidelined by a vicious brush with glandular fever. During her convalescence, while still miserable and weaker than most kittens, she takes an interest in Great-aunt May's old house. It is deserted since May moved to a more convenient location. Amber begins to realise, while visiting the house, that the view from the top window doesn't always coincide with what her mind tells her should be there. The seasons often seem different. When she discovers plans to knock the old house down, she is horrified.
It's a gentle fantasy, as there is no actual ghost or time-travel, and the magic is limited to the view outside the window. As with many of my books, this is an exploration of place and personality, showing the effect of a sudden change in circumstance and how that affects self-image and confidence. And yes; I had glandular fever in my teens and then again a couple of years later (which is meant to be just about impossible... but blood tests confirmed it) and so Amber's misery was written from a sharp recollection of my own. I cannot recommend that disorder to anyone. Forty-four years later I still have the after-effects from time-to-time. The only good thing about it was that it gave me this story.
About the Blog
Sally is Sally Odgers; author, manuscript assessor, editor, anthologist and reader. (Sally is me, by the way, and I am lots of other things too, but these are the relevant ones for now.)
The goal for 2017 is to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. If you're an author, an aspiring author, a reader or just someone who enjoys windows into worlds, you might find this fun. This preamble will be pasted to the top of each post, so feel free to skip it in future.