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I think you've made perfect sense and I've been tempted so well done!


I know what you are feeling. I am reading Gone with the Wind and I hope that I can give a good review at the end.


Well, you've made enough sense that I shall certainly be keeping an eye out for this.


I have this on my shelf and will certainly be reading it. You wrote a lovely review, Danielle (and I sympathise - I know exactly how it feels to leave a book that bit too long!). So glad you enjoyed West - I do love her writing.


I've always avoided Rebecca West. For some reason, I thought she wouldn't be an author I'd enjoy. But you've convinced me to give her a try.

Nancy Dwinell

I'll be adding this to my list too, Dani. I'm finding myself drawn to this period lately. (Maisie Dobbs may have been the initial spur.) I feel like I don't know enough about the Great War and the way it changed society. In school we seemed to focus only on Franz Ferdinand and then political aftermath rather than the cultural aspects of it. Thanks for the recommendation. Nancy D.

Margaret Powling

re Nancy's comment, above, I think Nancy you will like the latest Maisie Dobbs which I'm now reading. I think that's the problem with history teaching - it tells us about the 'big' issues, the kings, queens (and in the case of America, presidents), the wars, the disease and pestilence, but it's the small changes in society which affect everyday men, women and children. I 'dropped' history at the end of the 4th form (no idea how to translate this for America; I was about 14/15) as we could only then continue with one humanties subject, so I opted for geography. Strange how things turn out: I now write on social history matters, such as calling cards, the rise of the 'spa' town, Georgian gardens, Edwardian gardens, and the rise of the department store (yes, we always loved to shop!)
But back to the subject of this blog. I, too, thought that Rebecca West "wasn't for me" but your review has changed my mind. This book, which I long ago had but parted with, is now back on my 'list'.

Nancy Dwinell

Exactly my thoughts Margaret!
The social pieces are what make history interesting and they often inspire future events. i wish I had been able to take more geography but it wasn't an option when I was in school. (BTW My 15 yr old son is in Form IV- his school uses that system.)Your work sounds so interesting! I almost picked up the new Maisie Dobbs the other day but I'm waiting for a B&N coupon. I love the series.


The books I fall in love with are usually books of this sort in which nothing much happens but rather where the characters take center stage. I had to laugh as you described your feelings of not making sense and waiting too long to post a review. Those are my feelings almost every time I post a review. However, you always do a great job! Thanks for another fine review. I may have to check this one out.

Margaret Powling

It's me again! But as Lisa has said she likes boooks where nothing much happens, but where the characters take the centre stage, a book along these lines is FACING THE LIGHT by Adele Geras. I have loved all Adele's adult fiction (for she writes for children and young adults, too) but this, her first novel for adults, is my favourite.
I presume, Nancy, that your abbreviation B&N is Barnes & Noble?
Yes, Nancy, I adore social history. I collect books on housekeeping, too, and they demonstrate changing attitudes to housework ... at the turn of the 19th to the 20th century, housework was becoming a 'science'. Things had to be done along scientific lines, very regimented, very organized. Then in the 1930s, everything went 'modern' and housework was aided with new electrical devises. By the 1950s we had said goodbye to servants (unless one was extremely rich) and by the 1970s along came Superwoman, who could not only manage her home but a job as well. I love looking through these books - they're a microcosm of an ever-changing society as seen through the home, not the battlefields or the monarchs!
Still with this topic, and I hope Danielle will forgive me for writing another long comment, I would recommend THE VICTORIAN HOME by Judith Flanders for anyone interested in social history (esp. of the Victorian period.) Judith 'visits' a Victorian house, room by room, and tells how it would've been arranged and how it would've been used. A truly excellent book for those who enjoy social history. And about a period with novelist Rebecca West would've been a child!
I would also recommend the social history books by Alison Adburgham, which can be found on some of the secondhand books websites.

Simon T

This is an exceptionally good novel, such wonderful prose and a moving story told sensibly. One of my favourite reads this year so far - I confidently expect to see it on my top ten at the end of the year!

Dorothy W.

This book sounds really interesting! I had no idea West was an actress, and I also had no idea she changed her name to that of Ibsen's character. I just happened to be reading something about the Ibsen play a while back and thought it was a coincidence that the character and writer share the same name. Now I know better! I think I'd like to read the Ibsen play to see what it was West liked so much about the character.


Darlene--Definitely a book worth looking out for!
Isabel--I think you'll have lots to talk about with Gone With the Wind!! I look forward to hearing what you thought of it--I still haven't read it yet.
Cath--Do look for it. It's a slim novel, but there is so much to it.
Litlove--She writes so elegantly yet so sparely. I can't wait to read more. I had started The Fountain Overflows last year (got sidetracked but will get back to it), and now it's interesting to see how much the book followed her family life! It's much better to write when a book is fresh in your mind--for me anyway, I've discovered.
Ellen--Isn't it funny how we have these notions about authors--I'm sure I have a few too! Give her a try--this would be a great one to start with. I had not even really heard of her until I started blogging.
Nancy--I remember only learning facts in school, too, but the social aspect of the period--how people lived is really fascinating to me. I thought this was so interesting as she wrote it in 1918 during the war.
Margaret--You write on the rise of the shopping center? Now that would be interesting--I think I even have a book (as yet unread!!) on a similar topic! I hate it when I give away a book that later I take an interest in after all. I hope you find a copy!
Lisa--Don't you hate it when you have something specific in your mind that you want to say, but just can't quite get it out. It happens to me all the time too! This is the sort of book that will linger long after you finish reading it.
Margaret--Feel free to comment away--I should really adopt Cornflower's type of commenting as we both have Typepad for our blog service. It's nice being able to chat with another commenter! And oh, I have to get that Flanders book!! Very bad since I'm not supposed to be buying anything.
Simon--This was really a perfect sort of book--her writing is wonderful as well as the story and how she told it. I've heard others say and have to agree that there is nothing extraneous about this story yet there is so much you can read into it--the relationships, of course, but especially what she has to say about class. I'm looking forward to reading more of her books.
Dorothy--I had no idea Rebecca West wasn't her name either. It sounds like such a perfect name and I'd be curious about Ibsen's character as well. She must be imoressive for Cicily to want to write under that name. I wonder too about the 20s and 30s--the theater must have been a very big deal and something to aspire to. This is such an interesting period--full of intriguing people!


Two attributes you point out are in accord with her other book, The Bird Falls Down, which I read last fall. Her prose is very grand and lush, but the story doesn't progress much. She has a knack for creating and etching the inner lives of characters.


Matt--I'd like to read more of her work. She was really a talented writer. Sometimes I like quiet books that are all about the characters rather than an action filled plot. This had an excellent plot, too, only not an edge of your seat type.

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