In preparation for tomorrow's discussion on A.S. Byatt's The Children's Book based loosely on the life of E. Nesbit, one of Britain's most loved children's authors, I found a website called the Classic Bookshelf that has free great literature. If interested, there are some of E. Nesbit's books available to read for free online. The Five Children and It was the first in a series of books she wrote to supplement the family income much like Olive Wellwood. Edith Nesbit was born in 1858, the daughter of Sarah and John Collis Nesbit, the head of a British agricultural college. She met and married Hubert Bland E. Nesbit when she was 18. She and her husband, a journalist, were both socialists and founders of the English Fabian Society. Bland was a philanderer who couldn't make a living. Nesbit was unconventional, cutting her hair short, dispensing with corsets, smoking habitually, and living flamboyantly. She was a prolific writer as she raised five children, one an illegimate offspring of her husband. The Nesbits inhabited Well Hall in the Kent countryside. They entertained many famous friends and colleagues. She died in May 1924. Read more on E. Nesbit at The Edith Nesbit Society website.
Culture Vulture: Everyone can benefit from my opinion from Chicago is not a fan of A.S. Byatt but finds the plot engaging though melodramatic. She writes that "she [Byatt] does a fairly admirable job presenting a whole swath of socio-political issues embodied in actual people.
The Children's Book is on Uzma Aslam Khan, the author of The Story of Noble Rot, Trespassing, and The Geometry of God, bucket list of books to read. Her novel, The Geometry of God was voted one of Kirkus Reviews' Best Books of 2009.
Beth from Southern Bluestocking is rereading The Children's Book because "(a) I’m a little obsessed with Byatt’s work, (b) the period in which it is set is absolutely fascinating (1895-1920), and (c) I just hate feeling like I missed something good." She does suggest when reading this difficult book to make notecards for all the characters, "...you’ll get completely and totally confused if you don’t remember that Charles Wellwood changed his name to Karl after he went to Germany..."
Parnassus Reads gives The Children's Book 4 out of 5 stars writes "this book is really amazing in its historical sweep, but this is also part of its flaw."
I'm an expert amateur or maybe an amateur expert.