Awaking early on yet another freezing morning this week, I glanced at the note-pad on the fridge where I had scribbled a note about a book sale as I was getting milk for my coffee. I vaguely recalled the local library sale and the church sale I received an email about a few weeks back, which was about a forty-minute drive.
Having tentatively decided to go to the local sale because of the weather and maybe try the church sale on Sunday, I woke Craig up and hustled him out of the house before nine.
Pulling up at the local library we discovered I had gotten the week wrong. Wonderful.
“Do you want to go to the church sale?” Craig asked me as we drove off.
Suffering the effects of several weather changes this week and with a mild case of sniffles I wailed “But I didn’t bring the address” in my best po-me voice.
“We can go home and get it” Craig said reasonably as we headed towards home while I whined about the local op-shops being boring and what would we do now and other self-pitying mutterings.
“We’ll miss the start of the sale!” I complained loudly (briefly wondering why he hadn’t pitched my annoying self out of the car at this point) “There’ll be nothing left by the time we get there”
“Let’s just see where it is, we may as well give it a try” Craig said as we pulled into the driveway.
Upon checking my emails when I got in, I discovered the book sale started at ten, then promptly hustled poor Craig straight back out of the house, yammering we could still make the start of it and had he checked the map on Google (as I am the world’s worst map reader)
We did make it on time, to a lovely little church nestled in a woody corner block off the main road. The church hall was bigger than I expected, there was thousands of books to go through.
About half an hour later, having filled two bags with lots of lovely vintage Puffins, I was wandering around waiting for Craig (who always takes at least twice as long as me)
Having circled the hall twice, done a dutiful check on my books, which were thoroughly guarded by two volunteers at the special table they had set aside for holding dealer’s books, I spied a little room in the back.
There were three boxes of Mills and Boon, so I decided I should check for Betty Neels (who is our top-selling author in that genre and I can never buy enough of them) There was a lady with her large book list spread out over two boxes so I checked the first, discovered a few Betty Neels and Essie Summers, then quietly waited as she finished looking. Another elder lady wandered in at this point and took a seat next to the table.
After the first lady moved her list I discovered a whole box of Betty Neels, then promptly started flipping them up to check for loose pages etc. The elderly lady, Margaret I was soon to discover, asked me if I thought all of her books are there.
“The whole box is full” I told her, “I think she wrote about 85 books”
“Oh she wrote more than that’ she told me as I heaved another stack up to check “I read her books published by Robert Hale before she was published by Mills and Boon”, causing me to promptly drop my stack in surprise.
“She was published by Robert Hale?” I exclaimed.
“Oh yes” she said confidently.
“I thought I had the list of all her books” I muttered mostly to myself, then “I don’t read them, I sell them, and my customers can’t get enough of them. She’s easily the most popular of the older authors. I’ll have to do some more research”
We got chatting about some other authors she read, Doris Rae and Lucilla Andrews, and at this point I was in raptures of bookseller delight as she told me about all the old books she had. I told her I was trying to compile a list of Lucilla’s novels because a lot weren’t published in hardcover, they were published in Woman’s Weekly Library magazines.
Margaret left me her phone number, so hopefully I’ll get to add a few titles to my list. One of the best things about being a bookseller is getting the chance to meet collectors, and well worth getting out of bed on a freezing cold morning for.
Lucilla Andrews fans can help me add to my list on facebook Lucilla Andrews Bibliography