Books on the Channel Islands
New in 2015
An exciting addition this year to our Seaflower list is JERSEY: THE HIDDEN HISTORIES by Island resident Paul Darroch. His book is a kind of alternative history of Jersey; it is written in a style which the author describes as ‘immersive history’, at the boundary of creative writing and history. It consists of fourteen episodes in each of which a character tells his or her story. These are sewn together with an historical narrative which places them in a wider context. The whole is illustrated with a selection of colour images.
‘Panoramic in scope, Jersey: The Hidden Histories is a spellbinding journey into the life and times of this entrancing Island. It is painted on a canvas that stretches from the primeval hunters crossing the tundra to the arrival of the first aeroplane in the magical summer of 1912, on the eve of the Great War.
Imaginative and vibrant, this is history seen through the eyes of those who witnessed it; an unknown Charlie Chaplin exploding onto the stage of the Jersey Opera House; Queen Victoria travelling to Gorey Castle in the sultry September heat; Sir Walter Raleigh strutting into the States Chamber. This is the story of Karl Marx supping in St Helier; the fugitive King Charles II seeking sanctuary in his loyal Island, and Lillie Langtry treading the boards in her prime.
Jersey: The Hidden Histories is the biography of an Island perched on the frontier between clashing kingdoms, brimming with a rich cast of iconic characters. Paul Darroch brings history vividly to life, as the narrative sweeps from the green parishes of home to the distant shores where a New Jersey would be born.’
Earlier in the year we produced a revised and updated edition of Jersey Jaunts and a sixth printing of our perennial bestseller The Jersey Lily, the story of Jersey famous daughter, Lillie Langtry, by the late author Sonia Hillsdon.
New in 2014
We reprinted, in time for Easter, our title Jersey Occupation Diary, which has been continually in print since we first published it in 1995. I’m pleased to report that the price, at £9.95, is the same as it was at its first appearance. The diarist, Nan Le Ruez, will celebrate her 99th birthday in July this year. She has derived much pleasure from the many positive responses she has received from readers over the past two decades.
In addition, I have prepared a new edition of my own book Wish You Were Here, which we first brought out in 2000. Copies sold through a couple of years ago and I thought I might leave it at that. However, I had second thoughts and planned a new edition in landscape format, with just 128 pages (the original had 192) and with fewer illustrations, deciding to make a selection of the better ones from the original, plus a few new ones. And the price is less – £7.95 rather than £9.95.
A third project was not planned as a Seaflower title. A Guernsey colleague contacted me last year with a diary which she had acquired written by a visitor – one Andrew Mitchell from Limehouse in London – to Jersey and Guernsey in 1866. I find this sort of authentic record quite irresistable and felt I had to find a way of using it as the basis of a book. This my Guernsey colleague and I have now pursued and the result is, though I say so myself, an historically valuable and rather charming document. It offers a window on the experience of a tourist from a century and a half ago. Diary of Trip to Jersey & Guernsey: August 1866 is a small format book of 96 pages, price £6.95.
Finally, in November we published La Chaire: The Story of Jersey’s Lost Garden by Stephen Harmer, a lecturer at Hadlow College in Kent. This project began life as Stephen’s dissertation for his Master’s degree. Having been awarded his Master’s, I took up the challenge of transforming it into a book for the general market, which we published in association with Hadlow. It is a fascinating read (even for a Sunday gardener like myself) because it is essentially a human story of the two contrasting characters – Samuel Curtis and Charles Fletcher – who were responsible for the creation and development of La Chaire from 1841 through to the twentieth century.
Roger Le Dain Jones
To view the books on our list, click on a link below, or on the top left