Lillian Beckwith takes us back to her childhood; to the years before the Second World War, when her father ran a small grocer's shop in a Cheshire town. It was typical of so many corner shops -- the shops that are now more and more becoming just a memory, overwhelmed by redevelopment and the march of the supermarket. The corner shop where customers were known, often friends, people, not just faces at a checkout point, where shopping was gossipy, unhurried. A shop full of remembered smells of childhood: soft soap, aniseed balls, bacon and tea. A shop that is brought to life by the acute, affectionate memories of the little girl who grew up in it.
Lilian Comber wrote fiction and non-fiction for both adults and children under the pseudonym Lillian Beckwith. She is best known for her series of comic novels based on her time living on a croft in the Scottish Hebrides. Beckwith was born in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, in 1916, where her father ran a grocery shop. The shop provided the background for her memoir About My Father's Business, a child's eye view of a 1920s family. She moved to the Isle of Skye with her husband in 1942, and began writing fiction after moving to the Isle of Man with her family twenty years later. She also completed a cookery book, Secrets from a Crofter's Kitchen (Arrow, 1976). Since her death, Beckwith's novel A Shine of Rainbows has been made into a film starring Aidan Quinn and Connie Nielsen, which in 2009 won 'Best Feature' awards at the Heartland and Chicago Children's Film Festivals.
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