Staying in? Here are five of the best novels set in Northamptonshire

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Many of us are going to be at home more in the next few months – but there’s no reason to be bored. The pleasure of reading can be enjoyed anywhere, so here’s our guide to some of the best novels set in Northamptonshire. What would you include on the list? Email [email protected]

1 JERUSALEM

Alan Moore, 2016

It has more than 600,000 words . It’s longer than the Bible. It’s written by arguably the most famous living Northamptonian, the man behind the likes of Watchmen and V for Vendetta, widely regarded as one of the best comics writers in the English language. And it’s wholly set in and around Northampton. The epic tale spans centuries and is described by Moore as a “genetic mythology”, combining historical and supernatural fiction, as befits a man given to occultism, ceremonial magic and anarchism. The area’s more subversive history is plundered, with the likes or Samuel Beckett, Thomas a Becket, John Clare and Lucia Joyce - daughter of James - inspiring characters and styles. It’s a deep dive into mystery, history and the ancient heart of Northampon.

Alan Moore, one of the best-known living NorthamptoniansAlan Moore, one of the best-known living Northamptonians
Alan Moore, one of the best-known living Northamptonians | other

Publisher: Liveright

2 MANSFIELD PARK

Jane Austen, 1814

“About thirty years ago Miss Maria Ward, of Huntingdon, with only seven thousand pounds, had the good luck to captivate Sir Thomas Bertram, of Mansfield Park, in the county of Northampton, and to be thereby raised to the rank of a baronet’s lady, with all the comforts and consequences of an handsome house and large income.” So begins the third published novel by Jane Austen. It tells the story of Fanny Price, sent from her impoverished home when aged ten to live as one of the family at Mansfield Park, the estate of her uncle, where the action is set. Fanny’s character has been the subject of much discussion over the past two centuries. There has also been speculation as to the real -life inspiration of Mansfield Park, with an academic from the University of East Anglia suggesting in 2015 that it was based on Castle Ashby.

Publisher: Wordsworth

3 POLLARD

Laura Beatty, 2008

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Anne, a teenager who leaves her chaotic home life, finds sanctuary in the nearby woods where she makes a new life for herself. The work is the debut novel of Laura Beatty, from Salcey Forest in Northamp-tonshire, which inspired the setting. Pollard won the Authors’ Club First Novel Award and was shortlisted for the Ondaatje Prize.

Publisher: Chatto & Windus

4 MISTRESS MASHAM’S REPOSE

T H White, 1946

Northants meets Lilliput in this tale of a girl who discovers a race of tiny people living in the county. Shy and lonely ten-year-old orphan Maria meets the Lilliputians from Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift in an unlikely location. Being tempted to love, to fear and to bully, she must save her friends and herself. The novel deals with themes of imperialism, and the need for self-governance.

Publisher: Red Fox

5 BRENDON CHASE

Denys Watkins-Pitchford, 1944

The children’s novel, about three boys living wild in an English forest. has a setting inspired by the author’s native Northamptonshire. It was later made into series shown on ITV from 1980 to 1981.

Publisher: Jane Nissen Books

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