Teaser Tuesdays: February 27


Welcome to Teaser Tuesdays – a weekly feature hosted by The Purple Booker. Expect a new teaser every week!


| Teaser Tuesdays: February 27 |

Lois the Witch

by Elizabeth Gaskell

Classics | 256 Pages | Published by Penguin Books in 2008


Lois sickened and shuddered at the whole scene; and this was no intellectual shuddering at the folly and superstition of the people, but tender moral shuddering at the sight of guilt which she believed in, and at the evidence of men’s hatred and abhorrence, which, when shown even to the guilty, troubled and distressed her merciful heart. She followed her aunt and cousins out into the open air, with downcast eyes and pale face.

~ Chapter 3 | 59% | Lois the Witch by Elizabeth Gaskell


| Synopsis |

Set against the backdrop of the Salem witch hunts, Elizabeth Gaskell’s sombre novella reveals much about the complicity of mankind. Recently orphaned, Lois is forced to leave the English parsonage that had been her home and sail to America. A God-fearing and honest girl, she has little to concern her in this new life. Yet as she joins her distant family, she finds jealousy and dissension are rife, and her cousins quick to point the finger at the “impostor.” With the whole of Salem gripped by a fear of the supernatural, it seems her new home is where she is in most danger. Lonely and afraid, the words of an old curse return to haunt her. Collaborator and friend of Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins, Elizabeth Gaskell is a leading figure in Victorian literature.

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The Hobbit

by J.R.R. Tolkien

Fantasy | 306 Pages | Published by HarperCollins in 1995


He dreamed that a crack in the wall at the back of the cave got bigger and bigger, and opened wider and wider, and he was very afraid but could not call out or do anything but lie and look. Then he dreamed that the floor of the cave was giving way, and he was slipping – beginning to fall down, down, goodness knows where to.

~ Chapter IV: Over Hill and Under Hill | Page 58 | The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien


| Synopsis |

The Hobbit is a tale of high adventure, undertaken by a company of dwarves in search of dragon-guarded gold. A reluctant partner in this perilous quest is Bilbo Baggins, a comfort-loving unambitious hobbit, who surprises even himself by his resourcefulness and skill as a burglar.

Encounters with trolls, goblins, dwarves, elves and giant spiders, conversations with the dragon, Smaug, and a rather unwilling presence at the Battle of Five Armies are just some of the adventures that befall Bilbo.

Bilbo Baggins has taken his place among the ranks of the immortals of children’s fiction. Written by Professor Tolkien for his own children, The Hobbit met with instant critical acclaim when published.

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| Join In |

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Please leave a comment with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your ‘teasers’ in a comment here!

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Friday Firsts: Lois the Witch by Elizabeth Gaskell


Welcome to Friday Firsts – a new weekly meme created by Tenacious Reader. New Book: First paragraphs. First impressions. New favourite?


| Friday Firsts: February 23 |

Lois the Witch

by Elizabeth Gaskell

Classics | 256 Pages | Published by Penguin Books in 2008


| First Paragraphs |

In the year 1691, Lois Barclay stood on a little wooden pier, steadying herself on the stable land, in much the same manner as, eight or nine weeks ago, she had tried to steady herself on the deck of the rocking ship which had carried her across from Old to New England. It seemed as strange now to be on solid earth as it had been, not long ago, to be rocked by the sea, both by day and by night; and the aspect of the land was equally strange. The forests which showed in the distance all round, and which, in truth, were not very far from the wooden houses forming the town of Boston, were of different shades of green, and different, too, in shape of outline to those which Lois Barclay knew well in her old home in Warwickshire. Her heart sank a little as she stood alone, waiting for the captain of the good ship Redemption, the kind rough old sailor, who was her only known friend in this unknown continent. Captain Holdernesse was busy, however, as she saw, and it would probably be some time before he would be ready to attend, to her; so Lois sat down on one of the casks that lay about, and wrapped her grey duffle cloak tight around her, and sheltered herself under her hood, as well as might be, from the piercing wind, which seemed to follow those whom it had tyrannized over at sea with a dogged wish of still tormenting them on land. Very patiently did Lois sit there, although she was weary, and shivering with cold; for the day was severe for May, and the Redemption, with store of necessaries and comforts for the Puritan colonists of New England, was the earliest ship that had ventured across the seas.

How could Lois help thinking of the past, and speculating on the future, as she sat on Bostonpier, at this breathing-time of her life? In the dim sea-mist which she gazed upon with aching eyes (filled, against her will, with tears, from time to time), there rose the little village church of Barford (not three miles from Warwick — you may see it yet), where her father had preached ever since 1661, long before she was born. He and her mother both lay dead in Barford churchyard; and the old low grey church could hardly come before her vision without her seeing the old parsonage too, the cottage covered with Austrian roses, and yellow jessamine, where she had been born, sole child of parents already long past the prime of youth. She saw the path, not a hundred yards long, from the parsonage to the vestry door: that path which her father trod daily; for the vestry was his study, and the sanctum, where he pored over the ponderous tomes of the Father, and compared their precepts with those of the authorities of the Anglican Church of that day — the day of the later Stuarts; for Barford Parsonage at that time scarcely exceeded in size and dignity the cottages by which it was surrounded: it only contained three rooms on a floor, and was but two stories high. On the first, or ground floor, were the parlour, kitchen, and back or working kitchen; up-stairs, Mr. and Mrs. Barclay’s room, that belonging to Lois, and the maid-servant’s room. If a guest came, Lois left her own chamber, and shared old Clemence’s bed. But those days were over. Never more should Lois see father or mother on earth; they slept, calm and still, in Barford churchyard, careless of what became of their orphan child, as far as earthly manifestations of care or love went. And Clemence lay there too, bound down in her grassy bed by withes of the briar-rose, which Lois had trained over those three precious graves before leaving England for ever.

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| First Impressions |

Gaskell’s prose always endears me to her work from the very start. The lengthy, evocative descriptions which make up the opening pararaphs are characteristic of her writing, a key detail in her abilty to portray realistic characters.

Already drawn in, I cannot wait to continue Lois’ journey to the New World – though I fully expect that it will be marred by hardship and tragedy, a trait that no Gaskell novel would be complete without.

What are you currently reading? What were your first impressions?

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The Month Ahead: February 2018


Welcome to this February’s The Month Ahead at Books by ProxyBringing you blog related news and announcements!


| Announcement |

After a somewhat extended interval Books by Proxy is back! And I’m so looking forward to getting back into the swing of posting – believe me, I’ve missed it!

At some point in 2016, and again in 2017, my inability to strike a work / life / blog balance lead to a complete fall off the edge of the book-o-blogosphere – As many fellow bloggers can attest, sometimes we forget to just take it easy.

Life is considerably busier these days; 2017 saw me move into my new home with the other half, continue my foray into (not-at-all-wicked) step-motherhood, and commence the final step in my professional qualifications whilst assuming more responsibility at work. Something definitely had to give somewhere and, unfortunately, it was this blog.

Reading, however, remains my passion and, as I begin to organise my time more effectively and remember that this blog is for fun and my own peace of mind, it seemed like the perfect time to kick things off once again – both books and blogs are here to be enjoyed after all!

So here’s to catching up with reading, blogging and the wonderful online book community in 2018!


| Currently Reading |

Once again I am reading far too many books at one time – but why change the habit of a lifetime! This month I’m continuing my read of The Vagrant by Peter Newman and Half the World by Joe Abercrombie – two books which were started a considerably long time ago but got left behind when I moved house.

They are joined this February by the esteemed company of Lois the Witch by Elizabeth Gaskell, which I’m reading as part of The Gaskell Society lecture events in Manchester, The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu and The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, as part of my There and Back Again feature (see below). heart


| Coming Up on Books by Proxy |

There and Back Again: A Journey Through Middle Earth, is an indefinite season of all things Tolkien here at Books by Proxy. Join me as I make my journey through the most defining literature of my childhood, and unravel the details behind one of the most spectacular fantasy worlds ever made.

Beginning with a re-read of The Hobbit – where week by week I explore the novel in Chapter and Verse – I aim to bring you a series of continuing posts which take us on a journey through the works of Tolkien.

This series will be ongoing and fluid with both regular, weekly posts and one-off explorations – Expect Middle Earth related content a-plenty!

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It’s back! I couldn’t return to this blog without returning to one of my favourite memes of all time – Tough Travelling, now hosted by The Fantasy Hive. Join me once again as I explore the biggest tropes and clichés in fantasy fiction.heart

During my prolonged absence, my wonderful blogger friends have continued with The Friday Face-Off and kept it alive for well over a year – something which makes me immensely happy! I’ll be jumping back into the meme with the list compiled by the amazing Lynn over at Lynn’s Books, where you’ll be able to see all upcoming themes.

Here’s what’s coming up this February in The Friday Face-Off:

02nd February 2018 | Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

A psychedelic cover

09th February 2018 | My, What Big Teeth You Have

A cover featuring a cloaked figure

16th February 2018 | Groovy Baby

A cover that is retro

23rd February | There are too many steps in this castle, and it seems to me they add a few every night, just to vex me

A cover featuring a staircase


| February Goals |

To read four books

Status: 0 of 4 Complete

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To write a review once a week

Status: 0 of 4 Complete

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What are you reading at the moment? What are your goals for the month ahead? 

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