Norah Lofts


I think Norah Lofts is, without a doubt, the very best novelist I have ever read.

>>By Theresa   (Wednesday, 23 Apr 2003 20:32)

I didn't really understand what the theme was in her book The Fall of Midas, written as Juliet Astley. Does anyone know or can help? thanks much

>>By Molly   (Wednesday, 14 May 2003 01:06)

I discovered Norah Lofts book in a garbage bin at the Inuvik Regional Hospital and I got hooked. She is so timely and what a wit! She is so insightful and I feel better as a woman after I read her, she is such an advocate for BRAINY women! No mercy though, I like that! I will visit Bury St. Edmonds and I will walk everywhere she walked. To think a great mind like her walked this Earth and I did not meet her - what a blessing she must have been to her husband and to her friends! I hope I meet her in the Great Beyond and we can become friends!

>>By Mary Frost   (Wednesday, 14 May 2003 23:05)

I absolutely love Norah Lofts. I began reading her books in the late fifties when I was about 14 or 15. I have read most of them 3 or 4 times. I am now trying to buy her complete library and have most so far. It is hard to put her books down to go to sleep at night.

>>By Beatrice   (Wednesday, 23 Jul 2003 05:24)

In England we have a radio programme called Desert Island Disks. At the end of the programme the interviewer asks the guest which book they would most like to take with them. They are already, in theory, given the complete works of Shakespeare and the Bible. If it wasn't for Norah Lofts I would take Steinbecks East of Eden. However, I choose "Jassy", a remarkable book also about jealousy, evil and goodness. This book was written in the early 1940's. (I think). What a controversial book it must have been then. Dealing with powerful love, lesbianism, nymphomania and lunacy it is the most amazing book. I have a very battered paperback copy - I, like Dilys Helmar, would almost be prepared to sell my soul for a hard back copy! Like Beatrice in a previous note, I began reading Norah Lofts in my early teens in the 1950's. And I have most of them. For a time they used to turn up in second hand shops in towns in England but no longer. And yet I find nobody else amongst my many friends and aquaintances has ever read Lofts. Amazing!!

I have never seen the film (starring Margaret Lockwood) and I am not sure I would want to. What could replace those marvellous words, how could they be transferred from the prose of Lofts to celloloid.

I have nearly all of her books but one eludes me. Back in the early 1970's I read a book called The Road to Revelation. It was a harrowing tale about settlers and how they survived. I found it so hard hitting and I was so moved by it I felt I could not read it again. But I do not object to having a copy of my shelf as I would like to complete the set of works. But I have tried to find it and it is no longer in any of the UK libraries or any book stockists lists. I sometimes wonder if I imagined the whole thing but I know I didn't. I was expecting my first baby when I read it and the reason I found it so distressing was because of the decision one of the settlers made after her baby died. If anyone else has read this book please let me know.

>>By Tyger   (Wednesday, 20 Oct 2004 15:06)

I'm an old Norah Lofts fan too, and I really agree with the person who said she is continually surprised by people never having heard of her. There are so many inferior novelists about who are so much better known too! I particularly like the fact that she was such an early feminist ( or maybe protofeminist? ) author, making all her heroines women and girls of intelligence and strength , but never making them unbelievable for their historical time and place either.
What are people favourite Norah Lofts books ? Or favourite heroines?
I think my favourite heroine is Hester Roon- though Jassy is my favourite tragic heroine. And I love Vashti in Esther ( no one else has ever done Vashti such justice I believe) Proabably my favourite book is The House at Old Vine... I think. Or maybe The Lute Player .. maybe Eleanor is my real heroine .....

>>By BarbaraH   (Tuesday, 12 Dec 2006 04:50)

Are there any Norah Lofts clubs or societies that anyone knows of? Online or in "real-life"- if not, maybe we Flork people could start one

>>By BarbaraH   (Friday, 19 Jan 2007 00:09)

Hello I am new to Flork and joined for the Elizabeth Goudge interest .
I am in that age group! which read Norah Lofts many moons ago. How Far To Bethlehem was a book which I never forgot and Esther. But just last year I read The Town House and could not put it down. I started The House At Old Vine and have a set of tapes of The House At Sunset so I must complete the trilogy at some point. How many books did she write can any one say.
By Marieliz - England

>>By Marieliz   (Monday, 30 Apr 2007 22:49)

What do listers think are N L best books?

>>By Marieliz   (Wednesday, 16 May 2007 17:48)

I am a huge fan of Norah Loft's work! I am amazed though that she is not better known! Her books do not ,however, make for light reading! There is a lot of phsycological depth to her characterizations! I particularly enjoyed 'Out Of The Dark,' also 'Gad's Hall' and 'The Haunting Of Gad's Hall' . They are a few of my favorites, anybody read them? I am a sucker for if not, a happy ending then at least bitter sweet. 'Jassy' was perhaps a trifle too tragic but nonetheless very well written. That Norah Lofts is not more widely recognized, is to me a tragedy in itself!

>>By chuzzle   (Monday, 30 Jul 2007 20:25)

Hello all. I discovered Norah Lofts in 1976. There was a complilation library on our book shelf and I read Elephants Can Remember by Agatha Christie and then Charlotte by Norah Lofts. It was instant realisation of the discovery of my own favourite author. She is a treasure. My favourite books of hers are The Silver Nutmeg, The Town House, The House at Old Vine, Bless this House, To See a Fine Lady, Nethergate, Afternoon of an Autocrat, The Scent of Cloves, Hester Roon, Jassy, The Brittle Glass and of course, Charlotte, which is a bit atypical of Norah (as I subsequently learnt) but I have re-read it several times. Gosh she was a find. I am shocked that you all say she is little known and appreciated in Britain. I am an Australian in Melbourne and was 16 when I read Charlotte. Fortunately they had a number of her books in the State Library of Tasmania (I am a Tasmanian) and I set to and read. When I came to Melbourne I found some more of her books in libraries here in the late 80s, 90s. They have now been deleted for the most part. What a loss. I do have a small personal collection of her Corgi paperbacks obtained from so called opportunity (charity) shops. I am on a mission now to try and find all I can as I love this woman. The heartfelt passion she has for her central characters! The magnificent storytelling which is spellbinding. I am so glad others feel as I do. In case you are wondering I also love Jane Duncan (who was another find) and my beloved Thomas Hardy and Emily Bronte.

>>By thatblonde   (Friday, 14 Dec 2007 01:07)

Mary, I think I have worked out the parentage/genealogy re Elizabeth Kentwoode and Felicity Hatton ( you commented on the issue of Felicity's likeness to the portraits despite not being obviously related )
Felicity Hatton was the daughter of Christopher Hatton and when she is orphaned and goes to her kinsman Rupert Hatton at Mortiboys, a local man says that Rupert is Felicity's father's cousin. ( Hang on to this cousin part) Rupert, although passing as Edward Hatton's son, is actually Christopher Kentwoode's son by an affair with Ethelreda Benedict, who then married Canon Edward Hatton to make the child Rupert be born in wedlock.
Christopher Kentwoode was the son of Barbara Hatton and John Kentwoode. John Kentwoode was Elizabeth Kentwoode's nephew, her brothers son. Barbara Hatton had two brothers, Harry and Edward. Edward is Canon Hatton, see above. So, if Rupert was Christopher Hatton's cousin, their fathers must been been siblings. Since Elizabeth died childless, Felicity's father Christopher must be the son of Harry above. Which makes Felicity Elizabeth's great great niece ( I think) albeit via what you might call alternative arrangements.
I could be wrong here , but I think that's how it works . I just had the labour of love in re-reading House At Old Vine and the beginning of House at Sunset to check it, so please feel free to do likewise!

>>By BarbaraH   (Monday, 7 Apr 2008 05:54)

I recently (about March of 2008) discovered Norah Lofts through a Discussion Group on entitled "Your three favorite historical novels bar none."
Many many folks listed their favorite titles and authors and many I was familiar with and agreed ... however some I had never heard of before and began searching for them and then reading them.
I found the House Trilogy (although the final - Sunset - took a lot more searching and cost a whole lot more than the first two) I finally collected them all and have just finished reading them. Marvelous!
I have also read the two she wrote about Gads Hall and I still have Eleanor, the Queen at home to read yet.

>>By MMM   (Wednesday, 14 May 2008 17:54)

What a delight to have found this page. Internet accident. I rarely discover other readers who are familiar with Norah Lofts. I am trying to collect all/most of her titles. Sometimes the aged dusty smell of a particular book adds to the story telling magic. I order from for some. Much pleasure is derived from discovering a hardback on a shelf in a GoodWill store or a table at a flea market. I am always looking! Her words are so fateful. Lives are altered or sealed in an instant decision. I am chilled by her bleakness at times. Thank you all for some interesting comments.

>>By dmasy   (Monday, 9 Jun 2008 01:46)

i read norah lofts many years ago, may i suggest if you like her work try Rosemary Hawley Jarman or Hester Champan. RJ Jarman mainly deals with the turbulent times of the War of the Roses. Her novel "The Kings Grey Mare" deals with the life of Elizabeth Woodvillle.

I thank Norah Lofts for giving me a taste for history which inspired me to take a History Degree.

>>By estefania   (Monday, 9 Jun 2008 08:22)

Have Flork devotees of NL seen and done the quizzes around on her novels ? They are quite good, though certainly not difficult for the real fan. Link is this

>>By BarbaraH   (Monday, 25 Aug 2008 09:36)

I don't see any Flork people in the exellent Goodreads Norah Lofts pages . I would post thet link but keep getting told that it's invalid to do so, So just put Goodreads Norah Lofts in your Google

>>By BarbaraH   (Thursday, 25 Feb 2010 07:35)

Wow! I thought I was the only one who loved reading Norah Lofts. I "discovered" her work many years ago and, as many of you mentioned, once I begin one of her novels I can't put it down. I particularily love the "House" trilogy and reread every 10 years or so. I find her work haunting...

>>By dreamdrifter   (Monday, 5 Apr 2010 03:18)

Returning to this page after several years and a change of ID I should like to add that this great historical writer, her 'House' books also 'How Far to Bethlehem' and 'Esther' are among my all time favourite novels of Norah Lofts.
The research which this authoress incorporated into her work was amazing, they remain evergreen and well worth reading.

>>By eaglewings   (Sunday, 15 Aug 2010 16:35)

Hello Eaglewings - so hard to say what favourite NL's are but the House trilogy and How Far To B have to rank as som eof her best . There are wonderful discussions of both on Goodreads , look up Fans of Norah Lofts and you will find us.
So true about her 'evergreen' quality.

>>By BarbaraH   (Thursday, 17 Feb 2011 05:21)

Many thanks BarbaraH for your message. The date indicates just how long since I've looked on this Norah Lofts interest board and at some point I must log into Goodreads, thanks for the info:
Not long ago I came across a 1st edition volume in pristine condition & dust jacket of 'How Far To Bethlehem' my paperback copy having long gone. I'm hoping to read and enjoy it again as I remember doing many years since.

>>By eaglewings   (Monday, 16 May 2011 22:23)

Hi Everybody
We are all not really using this board much are we? I think next time I get the message to come here or get 'decomissioned ' I might just take the latter option and stay with the Goodreads NL board which is still pretty active . So, if I dont converse with anyone here again, bye bye and thank you

>>By BarbaraH   (Tuesday, 15 May 2012 09:03)

The discussion board is currently closed.