Review: Writes’ Houses - Where Great Books Began by Nick Channer
PUBLISHED: 14:53 26 May 2015 | UPDATED: 14:53 26 May 2015
Annette Shaw reviews Writes’ Houses - Where Great Books Began by Nick Channer
Published by Robert Hale. Hardback £22
With the Foreword by Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes this is a fascinating book that takes the reader on a literary tour of the British Isles. It’s an absolute treat to wander round the homes of some of our greatest writers. Illustrated in colour, over 50 houses are explored and of course one of those has to be Agatha Christie’s Devon retreat, Greenway.
Author Nick Channer explains the background to the acquisition of the 278-acre estate and how he felt on first seeing Greenway whilst on a boat trip from Totnes. “I found myself instantly drawn to the atmosphere of the place, its unrivalled location and the world she created in her books.”
In 1938 Christie paid £6000 for the house and with the support of architect and friend, Guilford Bell, she restored Greenway to its original eighteenth century design. The views across the lawn towards Dittisham are breathtaking. Greenway is England at its best. Most visitors would be hard pressed not to have a reaction to the sheer beauty of the place and feel there’s a creative muse around every corner. So it’s surprising to read that Christie never wrote there. “This was her precious refuge, her escape form the limelight.” However, an annual family tradition was a reading of a chapter of a new thriller.
Pop next door to Cornwall for a glimpse at du Maurier’s Menabilly or head east to Dorset for the home of T.E. Lawrence at Clouds Hill. Then there’s Dickens, Hardy, Waugh, Kipling, Blyton.....
A must for every book lover