Edinburgh and Books

Wherever we go, I like to seek out and read books relating to the place we're visiting. Our recent trip to Edinburgh was no exception.

I collected a few novels, set in and around Edinburgh, to get me in the mood for the city, as well as to read whilst we were there.

Greyfriar's Bobby by Eleanor Atkinson was on my pile of books, mainly because we were staying very close to Greyfrairs Kirkyard and walked past many times. I find this story so sad, but also very lovely. I skimmed the novel and then set it aside. I was looking for something new to read.

Next, I enjoyed some chapters from Muriel Spark's The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. Another excellent novel and one that I have enjoyed reading many times. But again, not a new book about Edinburgh.

So, I was delighted to discover, quite by accident, Eileen Dunlop's A Flute in Mayferry Street. I have not read anything by this author before, in fact until I heard about her in a blog I follow, I didn't know anything about her.

 A Flute in Mayferry Street appealed to me for two reasons. Firstly, it is set in Edinburgh and secondly, it is a time-slip novel. I absolutely adore time-slip novels. Ever since I read Tom's Midnight Garden and The Amazing Mr Blunden, anything that combines the past and the present appeals to me hugely.

I thought EIleen Dunlop's novel was absolutely gorgeous. I was hooked from the opening paragraphs:

"It was half past four on an afternoon in late October, on the kind of day that stands on the knife edge between autumn and winter; the sun and the shine and the bright stains of autumn were still unfaded, but the warmth had gone with the house martins, and the air was  as sharp and as brittle as the leaves. Any day now, the first grey breathing of the northern winter would unhook the remaining leaves from the trees, and send them scattering ...so, such a last, golden day was precious, and in the leafy streets of the New Town of Edinburgh, long, mellow stone houses were lying peacefully in the sunshine..."

We were staying on Grassmarket, and this description totally resonated with the autumnal sights, and the Georgian buildings all around us.

We visited a number of bookshops and I managed to pick up Robinsheugh, another Eileen Dunlop novel, in the Edinburgh Bookshop. I'm looking forward to enjoying another book by this highly imaginative author.

Finally, I was delighted that the latest Bertie installment from Alexander McCall Smith was just published, and I bought it in the wonderful Toppings Bookshop. I love these books, set in Edinburgh and so redolent of the city. I'm now reading this novel and it's transporting me back to Edinburgh.