I have been slowly reading and savoring Susan Hill’s “The Magic Apple Tree” over the last month. Her prose is delicious and in my mind’s eye, I can see her home and the Fens and the lovely gardens and fields and trees she describes her book. Here are just a few of my favorite quotes:
“The open fire is different, we have that not so much when we need it as when we can spend an evening sitting beside it, enjoying the smell and the sight of its burning, staring into it, poking and probing and rearranging it, for a wood fire is an activity, not an object to be admired passively.”
“…one of the richest pleasures of domestic life is, and has always been, filling the house with the smells of food, of baking bread and cakes, bubbling casseroles and simmering soups, of vegetables fresh from the garden and quickly steamed, of the roasting of meat, of new-ground coffee and pounded spices and chopped herbs, of hot marmalade and jam and jelly.”
“There is a smell to every season, and smoke outdoors is the smell of November.”
“It is a small wood, as all the best ones are, for small, in woodland terms, is friendly and safe.”
“I like to see flowers growing in the way old-fashioned country gardeners always had them, in rows among the vegetables, with the sweet peas up behind the potatoes.”
“Old roses have character, and romance lingering in their pasts. They are like faded old beauties of Victorian and Edwardian country houses. I love their names and their rarity and the way they are ever so slightly blousy, and yet paper-frail, too.”
What a lovely book. Between this book and her “Howard’s End is on the Landing”, I have found an author who is also a kindred spirit. I have not read any of her other books, not even her mysteries, and have all of those to look forward to in the future.