Cool stuff from the Selectors: history and intrigue

As a book selector I am constantly purchasing books that seem so interesting, so compelling, and I know I should read them – but I don’t.

Two recent books sparked my interest; I know that someone will love them but probably not me. I will have to live vicariously through others’ enjoyment.

Cover of the Real Peter PanDriving home last week I heard an interview of Piers Dudgeon, the author of The Real Peter Pan: The Tragic Life of Michael Llewelyn Davies. Michael was the fourth of five brothers who were the inspiration behind J. M Barrie’s Peter Pan. The author described a tragic story: both parents died and the children were in the guardianship of Barrie. He paradoxically saved them from a life of poverty, yet there have always been questions about his relationship with and domination of Michael. In the wrong hands this book could be salacious gossip, but by all accounts the author gives a balanced account.

Cover of WilloughbylandWilloughbyland is another title that took my attention.

Willoughbyland would become a place of terror and cruelty, of sugar and slavery. As Matthew Parker reveals, the history of Willoughbyland is a microcosm of the history of empire, its heady attractions and fatal dangers.

A group of exiled Cavaliers have established a new settlement in the Amazon led by their founder Sir Francis Willoughby, a man of extremes who is set to have a spectacular rise and fall.  A book that seems to have it all, wild locations and equally wild “natives”, seduction, spies, planters, mercenaries and political dissidents. What more could you ask for?

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