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Someone asks on Twitter:

“Suggestions please: great fiction for 10-year-old with very inquiring mind. She’s finished Potter, loves Morpurgo, didn’t like Hunger Games”.

Someone replies to suggest. Rosemary Sutcliff.
SO……Which in particular?

Historical novelist and children’s book writer Rosemary Sutcliff books and book covers

I have just discovered the  Google Books Ngram Viewer. When you enter phrases  it displays a graph showing how those phrases have occurred in a corpus of books (e.g. in “English”, “American English”, “British English”, ”English”,  “English Fiction”, “French”) over the selected years. I tried comparing Rosemary Sutcliff, with Geofrrey Trease, Georgette Heyer, JK Rowling, and Terry Pratchett, in the US and UK. This clearly shows the rise and decline in attention to the books of Rosemary Sutcliff.

Comparing use of Rosemary Sutcliff in English corpus of words with other authors

 

Flag of Mexico

More vistors to this site from Mexico in the last two days than the whole of the last two years. Why?

Rosemary Sutcliff’s Arthurian novel, Sword at Sunset, was top of the UK bestseller lists in 1963, the year it was first published. Fifty or so years ago there was no internet; cuttings services collected press clippings and sent them on to publishers, the agent and the writer.

Sword at Sunset newspaper clippings of reviews  of historical novel by Rosemary Sutcliff

Signature of Rosemary Sutcliff showing her name is not Sutcliffe with an E

Rosemary Sutcliff not Sutcliffe

In 2010 Joanna R. Smith blogged about reading Rosemary Sutcliff’s Dawn Wind—“gorgeous historical fiction” about Britain in the 6th Century AD. She loved (Rosemary Sutcliff’s): “storytelling and characters, and her talent of letting you hear and see and feel the things in her books. Her prose is quiet and lyrical and compelling, and this is “ Lovely, lovely stuff. The kind of writing I aspire to!”

The moon drifted clear of a long bank of cloud, and the cool slippery light hung for a moment on the crest of the high ground, and then spilled down the gentle bush-grown slope to the river. Between the darkness under the banks the water which had been leaden gray woke into moving ripple-patterns, and a crinkled skin of silver light marked where the paved ford carried across the road from Corinium to Aquae Sulis. Somewhere among the matted islands of rushes and water crowfoot, a moorhen cucked and was still. On the high ground in the loop of the river nothing moved at all, save the little wind that ran shivering through the hawthorn bushes.

Source: Just a Lyric in a Children’s Rhyme: A long bank of cloud

E-Book cover of The Flowers of Adonis by Rosemary Sutcliff, 2014 edition

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