Book news and review – April 2016

Words by:
Yusef Sayed
Featured in:
April 2016

A new book by popular county historian Alan Stennett has been published by The Crowood Press. Lincolnshire Railways charts the development of train travel throughout the county, from its earliest days as a thoroughfare for the north, and serving the fishing port of Grimsby, the attractions along the East Coast and the industrial works of Scunthorpe before the Beeching cuts changed everything. For more information visit

Far Welter’d, the East Lincolnshire Dialect Society has released a book of original writing called Inder-ends. The group, who present readings and talks focusing on Lincolnshire dialect have donated copies of the book to Louth Library and local schools. The book (including CD) is on sale at MSR newsagents in Louth, the Heritage bookshop on Steep Hill in Lincoln and is available directly from Far Welter’d by contacting Tony Lazell on 01507 450526.

Lindum Books in Lincoln have announced the first events in their Spring/Summer programme. Rebecca Mascull & Katherine Clements will visit the city on Friday 6th May, followed by Alison Weir on Tuesday 24th May and Tracy Borman on Saturday 4th June. All events will be held at The Collection. For more details, contact the shop on T: 01522 262374.

An Infamous Mistress
by Joanne Major and Sarah Murden
Published by Pen & Sword Books,
Price £25 (hbk)

This biography researched and co-authored by Lincolnshire based Joanne Major and Sarah Murden tells the story of Grace Dalrymple Elliott, a Scottish socialite who received the affection of the Prince of Wales (later George IV) and was a lover of the Duke of Orleans. A significant period in Elliott’s own life was told in her memoir about the events of the French Revolution – a rare female perspective on the tumult – and she has also been the subject of a film by Eric Rohmer, The Lady and the Duke.

Elliott’s life in England and elsewhere during the Regency period, and the eventful lives of many of her family members, are less well known. Though one of her children was the subject of paternity intrigue following a romance with the Prince of Wales, the authors have uncovered a huge amount of new information about Elliott and her kin that enriches our understanding.

This is, though, perhaps not the best place to begin with Elliott, since so much of the book focuses on genealogical details, following numerous branches of the family tree. The story, as a result, flies off at numerous tangents. The authors do acknowledge their intent in the introduction, trusting that the historical value of their findings and the contextual interest will keep even uninformed readers turning the page. But one wonders if the new information about Elliott alone would have furnished an exciting new telling of her colourful life without such a large family gathering.

For those who are drawn to the period – the social picture is given in vivid detail, drawing on numerous archival sources – and desire a fuller sense of the milieux in which Elliott lived, this will be an invaluable trove of information.

A Table at The Fields by Colin McGurran
Published by Meze Publishing,
Price £25 (hbk)

Winteringham Fields has long been a renowned dining establishment in Lincolnshire, and chef Colin McGurran here shares a number of recipes along with an insight into the working year at the restaurant.

The design of the book has clearly been given a lot of consideration, with bright, varying photographic images displaying McGurran’s culinary creations in an appealing light as well as candid shots of life behind the scenes of Winteringham Fields. More than just a selection of choice recipes, this is a personal snapshot of an evolving local business. Accompanying editorial explains the history of the restaurant, the processes of food growing and the field-to-fork ethos that McGurran and his staff adhere too.

The recipes are arranged by season and range from rustic vegetable and meat dishes to decadent desserts and drinks, which will offer plenty of inspiration for all foodies.

The Angel and the Elephant by Rosemary Cushway
Published by Austin Macauley Publishers, Price £6.99 (pbk)

Beginning with a personal experience of achievement, when author Rosemary Cushway climbed to the top of a castle while still in recovery from radiotherapy, the angel and elephant of the title were originally gift shop tokens. These inspired Cushway to write stories based on biblical episodes to bring comfort and enjoyment to others. Cushway’s short tales are a gentle take on New Testament episodes. Intended to appeal to readers of all ages, the introduction of a family of elephants are no doubt a well-meaning attempt to convey to children, in particular, the central moral lessons of the holy book.

The stories are accompanied by drawings, which may have given the book more colour if they had been developed beyond rudimentary sketches. Still, one hopes that the simple intent will encourage sympathetic readers young and old to explore the book.

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