On more than one occasion the spine of this book has caught my eye. What a great title, The Past Tense of Love. Doesn't it conjure up all sorts of interesting scenarios? Perhaps something romantic, but a happy story? I'd not heard of Elizabeth Cadell before, but a peek at the list of books she's written shows she was quite prolific. Twenty titles alone listed in this book, which was published in 1970.
Cadell was born in 1903 in India where her father worked for the government. Although she studied music in London during WWI she eventually returned to India where she met and married her husband. She returned to England a widow where she passed the Second World War in York and by 1946 had published her first novel. She would go on to publish more than fifty novels and had quite a following both in the UK and the US. It sounds as though her books were light-hearted and often humorous romantic stories.
My library only owns this one book, The Past Tense of Love, and by the sound of the NYT review it is one of those charming escapist sorts of reads that I so often enjoy. As the review is brief, almost just a mention I'll share it here.
"Little did plucky Kerry know when she was asked by her employer, Lord Hazing, to carry a mysterious message from London to Brittany, that she would turn up her long lost mother, her long-absent father, some of her mother's ex-beaux, and their progeny, and Mr. Right. I'm really not giving anything away with all this, because you can't begin to imagine how involved has been her genealogy. You see, Kerry and her sister Dale were raised by their four aunts at Orchard House. Madeleine, Kerry's mummy, suddenly left Orchard House at 18, surfacing a few years later to deposit two small children with her bachelor sisters. Dissolve now into a villa in the coastal town of Gaston-le-Grand, where the long arm of coincidence spins a web as intricate as a Persian carpet. You who believed in Tinker Bell will believe in Kerry, too. You who didn't are just not worth bothering about."
It sounds like it could be fun, if perhaps a little contrived. It has that mid-20th century romantic adventure story feel to it, though not knowing her style won't compare (though I was thinking Mary Stewart with her sometimes exotic locales--they may have nothing really in common however). A little taste from the story:
"The packages lying on the floor of the narrow hall were difficult to sort. Not only were they of unidentifiable shape and size, but they had been bought in the same department store and were uniform green-and-while wrapping paper."
Has anyone read her? Considering how prolific she was and how popular she seems to have been, I have a feeling there might be a few devotees out there. As a matter of fact I came across a fan website for her and there appears to be also a Yahoo Group devoted to her books.