PERFECT BOOKS, perfect sensibility—that’s what you get from Persephone (persephonebooks.co.uk), a small British company that reprints neglected or forgotten books of the last century, mostly by and about women. Each of their 88 titles is an exquisite pearl gray paperback with the title in a cream box, but inside—oh, boy!—on the endpapers and free bookmark they reproduce a fabric from the same period as the book. Great reads in a gorgeous package. To mention a few: An Interrupted Life by Etty Hillesun (she is kind of a grown-up Anne Frank); Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson (made into a lovely movie with the peerless Frances McDormand); The Making of a Marchioness by Frances Hodgson Burnett (who wrote The Secret Garden). They also have a blog, thepersephonepost.blogspot.com, which displays a different picture, with a pithy caption, each day—sometimes a photo, sometimes a painting or poster. For every week there is a theme, often literary/historical and/or distinctively English; recent choices have included political poster art, bookish-looking interiors, women reading, flowers, booksellers and libraries.
A couple of years ago the founders came to New York to host a tea for American devotees. Scones with strawberry and cream were served. These women know how to do things right.