Katie Fforde: Books that changed my life

Friday’s Child

by Georgette Heyer

This is the first Georgette Heyer novel I read, and I soon became addicted to her Regency romances. I’d hole up in my room reading while pretending to my mother that I was busy revising schoolwork. I read her books over and over, returning to them in times of stress. I like to think my books also provide my readers with a place of safety where they know nothing truly bad is going to happen. 

Collins Albatross Book of Verse

edited by Louis Untermeyer

I won this as a school prize when I was 14 and it was a turning point in my appreciation of poetry. I learned how the rhythm of words can affect meaning and emotional impact. A few years ago I sat on stage while the inimitable Harriet Walter read out Patterns by Amy Lowell, one of the poems in this anthology. It’s such a beautiful, sad poem that I couldn’t stop the tears streaming down my face. 

The Cookery Book Set

by Elizabeth David 

When I was 19 and newly engaged, I did a cooking course with a very eccentric French woman who always gave her soon-to-be married students this boxed set. Perhaps she felt sorry for our future husbands because we were all rather hopeless at cooking. Elizabeth David’s recipes were quite complicated and required a lot of shopping, but I battled on and in particular mastered her boeuf bourguignon. My husband and I are about to celebrate our 45th wedding anniversary so he must have liked it well enough...