just-rosie-3 Where do you escape to when it all gets too much? When that sleep that you really, really need alludes you? For those stressed with over-work, with family or money worries or health problems – a respite is definitely needed.  Other than flying away from it all and off to an exotic desert island, what are we ordinary mortals supposed to do?  I have discovered my best escape is found between the pages of a book.

I guess I have always escaped into the magical world of stories. I have been reading all my life. My brother, Phil, reminded me that I started my own library – ‘The Leafy Way Public Library’ – in my bedroom as a small child. I had a little rubber stamp that imprinted the logo in my books. Phil remembers my issuing him with a library ticket that I date-stamped to take out books! My ‘library’ included the different Enid Blyton mystery series, The Famous Five, The Secret Seven and the Mary Mouse tales. Phil was not interested in the more girlie books that I loved:  the Pamela Brown adventures about theatre life: The Swish of the Curtain, Blue Door Ventures and Golden Pavements – or Noel Streatfield’s Ballet Shoes and the  Dancing Shoes series.  the-secret-seven

Even at that very young age I found an escape into these magical books. I even wrote my own first book, Make Believe Mondays, when I was ten – carefully handwritten, with an orange, pencil- illustrated cover. I wrote it for my brother Phil, I recall! The love of books clearly stayed with me throughout my growing up. I know I have written before about these books that colored my life.  Books have always been a wonderful escape for me.

But I think this is true for most of us writers. I know that with my fellow bloggers we often talk about the books that we lose ourselves in. Reading is truly a wonderful way of retreating from the woes that life sometimes presents. Even if it is a snatched fifteen minutes on a train or bus ride to work, or a quick read on a short coffee-break. What a relief to vanish from today’s world, for a glimpse into someone else’s fictional world.

the-shell-seekers  And in the middle of the night, instead of tossing and turning and sheep-counting – reach for a book. I do. I currently have a favorite Rhys Bowen novel about Molly Murphy in the turn-of-the-century New York mystery series. In a different mood, I will re-read Rosamund Pilcher’s The Shell Seekers, a Maeve Binchy novel, a Marcia Willet story, one of Carol Drinkwater’s books set in the South of France, or Victoria Hislop’s The Island and her other Mediterranean-set novels. I just love anything set in the sunny Mediterranean. No rush-hour traffic jams, no screaming police sirens, angry crowds pushing and shoving. Just gentle walks though olive grows, planning delicious simple meals, folk watching the tides come in and go out again under breath-taking sunsets. What’s not to like?

heidi         Although my all-time favorite remains the childhood classic, Heidi, by Johanna Spyri, about the little girl who goes to live with her grandfather in the Swiss mountains. Some years ago I learned to refocus my mind while in the dentist’s dreaded chair – and would whisk myself off to that Swiss mountain side with Heidi and her goat-herd friend Peter.

As a writer, I love to think that someone else might lose themselves in a story that I have created. I write about another world I like to lose myself in: Lottie Topaz’s discovery of Hollywood in the 1920s. It’s quite exhilarating to inhabit this other reality.

As we lose ourselves in someone else’s stories, one forgets – for a while – the troubles and stresses that surround us.

So the next time that bedroom clock relentlessly blinks 3:30 am at you, and you find yourself start back at number one with your counting sheep, reach for a book instead – a gentle, charming story. Nothing too violent or thought-provoking. Just a beautiful, exotic island of words, with a gentle breeze blowing across the pages and the scent of tropical flowers to lull you into that other realm that will take you out of yourself for a while. Sleep then comes more easily when you leave reality behind. To sleep – perchance to dream – of inhabiting the world of your favorite books… written by your favorite authors….



c19f5-hlwdtandnThe author of Best Selling non-fiction Hollywood Then and Now and Los Angeles Then and Now, English born ROSEMARY LORD has lived in Hollywood for over 25 years. As an actress, her credits include Monty Python, Rivals of Sherlock Holmes, Days of Our Lives, L.A. Heat and more. She did voice-work on Titanic, Star Trek, Shakespeare In Love, The Holiday and Pirates of the Caribbean amongst many others. A former journalist,  she is published in many magazines such as Woman’s Journal, Atlantic Review, Woman, Films & Filming, Jackie, Field newspapers and more in the UK, USA and Australia, where she wrote about Hollywood’s Golden Age, interviewing such luminaries as Cary Grant, James Stewart, Tony Hopkins, John Huston. She was a Senior Publicist at Columbia Pictures. Rosemary lectures on Hollywood history and is the Historian of the Woman’s Club of Hollywood. She is a member of MWA, Sisters-in-Crime, SAG, BAFTA and contributes to The Writers In Residence Blog.


Her first mystery novel Lottie Topaz and the Flicker Murders… is set in the 1920s Jazz Age Hollywood featuring Lottie Topaz, an extra in silent movies.


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13 thoughts on “A QUICK ESCAPE…”

  1. There is nothing like a book to let you relax. Just yesterday I was working on the photos for an upcoming Christmas book. I had put in about ten hours and I was running out of steam, so I put down the camera, shut off the computer, and went downstairs to read. Funny, as tired as I was, the book made me feel like I had a few more hours left in the day to enjoy myself. And some of those older books are still worth a second or third read. Thanks, Rosie, for an inspiring post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aren’t we lucky to have such a plethora of old books that are worth reading a second or even third time. Thanks, Gayle. And will this book be ready for Christmas?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post, about a topic near and dear to me – escapism through books. I’m not so much a can’t sleep person, but late afternoon my mind and body seems to drain; and to escape to some wonderful place, or into some captivating character’s mind is wonderful! For me, the world of literature is just grand. As an aside, I so applaud all the wonderful literary programs so everyone has an opportunity to go to all these wonderful worlds…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. No wonder I like you so much, Rosie–we have some of the same favorite books: “The Shell Seekers” and “Heidi.” And I bet you loved “Black Beauty” too, as it was set in England. You’re so right that books are the best (and least expensive) escape there is. Sometimes if I’m drowning in self-pity I read about someone else’s troubles (haunted house, terminal illness, love affair gone to pieces) and I think, “Hey, I’m not so bad off after all.” Schadenfreude, I confess, is one of my flaws, but . . . Thanks for this great reminder of how lucky we avid readers are.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We really are shameless, aren’t we, in reading about other people’s dire situations to escape from our own dramas… And yes, Bonnie, I loved Black Beauty, too….

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, my gosh! The Shell Seekers is one of my favorites too. I loved how the story is told so beautifuly by different characters – much like my own (unfinished, unpublished “Sister Secrets” novel) – only so much better. In fact, I really enjoy all of Rosamunde Pilcher’s books!
    And, (boy are we on the same wave link) I’m reading Enid Blyton’s “The Rockingdown Mystery” right now! So fun. I too love escaping into books. My escapes have been few and far between lately, and your blog post just inspired me to vow to read more of the gentle books. Last week’s post about fun cozies was another reason to pull up that recliner, make a pot of tea, grab a few cookies, and sink into that escape. Thanks, Rosemary!
    PS: I loved about your little library too! Wow.


    1. I know you’ve been so busy, lately, Jackie – so I am glad you’re making time to escape. Aren’t these books delightful?


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