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Comments

Miss Moppet

Fabulous review for a book I absolutely love.

I was never convinced, though, that Angel's last years were as sad as Taylor seemed to think they were. She was surrounded by her pets and her devoted staff, and was largely oblivious to the outside world anyway.

I loved the film too.

Claire (The Captive Reader)

Wonderful review of a book I've previously had little interest in reading. It's on the TBR list now!

Danielle

Miss Moppet--I thought this was really excellent as well, though I've loved all of ET's books that I've read. I think you are right that even in poverty Angel was definitely somewhat immune to things. She totally remade herself and her life into a sort of fairy tale, or a story you might find in her books, though certainly her life was tinged with sadness. I'm contemplating borrowing the movie--I'm very curious to see how Angel would translate onto film.
Claire--I'd been really curious about this book for a long time. ET can write about such different subjects but she always does it so well. Angel is such an interesting character and maddening, too. I'd like to hear what others thing who have read it. You may not like Angel, but I suspect if you read the book you'll feel strongly about her and she will stick in your mind.

Verity

It was an odd book really - immensely well written, gripping, but Angel, oh so unlikeable! Quite by chance I picked up an original green copy of this only on Tuesday which I'm very happy to have in my collection now!

Rachel

What a brilliant review! This was my first Elizabeth Taylor and I really didn't know what to make of it at first. Angel is insufferable and infuriating on many levels, but at heart I found her to be a little girl who just wanted to be loved and surrounded by the pretty things she felt she deserved but never got to have. Her delusions and overactive imagination were, in my mind, her way of coping with the fact that life didn't live up to her outlandish expectations - she is a dreamer, but a determined and ruthless one at that, and her ability to blast through anything that stood in her way amazed me. A brilliantly drawn character; to create someone who is so hateful but pitiable at the same time is no mean feat. Elizabeth Taylor is vastly underrated.

Darlene

Oh Danielle, your review has me wishing that this book was on my shelf so I could go and grab it!

Liz F

I have read quite a few of Elizabeth Taylor's books but not this one so I must see if I can find a reasonably priced copy (have rather overspent on books this month and am hoping that other half doesn't find out!)

Margaret Powling

I have had this on the shelf for years ... not I have been encouraged actually to read it!
Margaret P

Buried In Print

This was my first Elizabeth Taylor, the one that insta-landed her on my list of favourite writers; your review has made me want to re-read and, simultaneously, read the ones of hers that I haven't gotten to yet. I also really enjoyed At Mrs. Lippincotes.

Stefanie

You really know how to make a book sound intriguing Danielle! Neither my university nor public library has it so I'll have to keep an eye out for it at the bookstore or get it through ILL should I become desperate.

Catherine

What a great review! I read the book and then watched the movie. Romola Garai plays Angel and does a Terrific job. Half way through the movie, my husband turned to me, his face askew and demanded, "What is Going On with this movie?? What's wrong with her?!?!" That's pretty much everyone's response to Angel, "?!?!" It was mine, certainly. The movie really redeemed the book for me, I must say. I saw it more clearly. I so adore Taylor and it was with a deep sigh of relief that I was finally able to say, that I on some sort of level somewhere, finally got some part of Angel.
On further musings, I also think Angel's a much more interesting female heroine then say, Madame Bovary. They're both equally as crazy but I'm really glad Taylor dreamed up Angel. It sets a sort of balance about a completely different sort of lady.

Priscilla

I've not read any Elizabeth Taylor yet, but this is such a remarkable review, all the better for your even-handed discussion of a character you did not like. That tells me that Taylor must be good, because Angel was compelling enough for you to keep reading.

iliana

Great review, Danielle. I want to read this now of course! I've only read one of Taylor's book but really enjoyed it and have been meaning to read more. Angel is definitely on my list now.

litlove

I agree with everyone - a stunning review. I read this years ago and cannot recall a word of it (my son was young at the time!). I should dig it out and read it again.

Danielle

Verity--Have you shown the cover yet? I'm curious what it looks like. And Angel is quite an unusual creation, wasn't she! I feel very ambivalent about her but disliked her very much while reading.
Rachel--I think you are spot on in your characterization of her. She very much was in her own happy world and the real world was such a disappointment for her. She wanted so much to be loved and wanted to believe that Esme truly loved her--and yes, she wanted all the fairly tale accoutrements--which she more or less got but at a price. She really ought to be better known!
Darlene--You'll have to watch out for this one next time you are making the bookshop rounds! I think anything by ET must be good, but she did a really amazing job with this story.
Liz--The Sleeping Beauty was the first ET book that I read and I knew instantly that I wanted to read much much more by her. I started collecting any used (she's not actually in print in the US unfortunately--only some of the Virago editions can be had via Amazon) copies I could find. I want to read my way through her work, but it will be a long term project. I bet you can find a used copy--I think those older Viragos are much easier to find in the UK than here.
Margaret--I had my copy for a while as well and had been looking forward to reading it. I wasn't sure what to make of her, and while I still can't say I was won over by Angel, Elizabeth Taylor certainly did an amazing job creating the character.
Buried in Print--A Sleeping Beauty was my introduction to her work and like you I wanted to read everything then as well. I have At Mrs Lippincotes and have heard it is good as well--have been buying her books as I find them. A coworker recommended a View of the Harbor, which I might try next--I'd like to read all her books, though.
Stefanie--I requested a few books by her at the library where I work, but I am not sure my public library has any of her books sadly. I am sure you could find this one and others via ILL, though. This would have made a great Slaves book!
Catherine--I'm really curious about the movie but am still not sure whether I will watch it or not. I do like Romola Garai and am curious to see how she plays the part. I wonder if in the movie she is a more sympathetic character--though maybe not judging by your husband's response. She is a very unique character, isn't she?!
Priscilla--Elizabeth Taylor is really a remarkable writer and I highly recommend her work--short stories, too. Even now thinking about Angel she frustrates me, but her character is not black and white, but very grey. ETs books are definitely more introspective.
Iliana--It's a maddening book, but so well done you can't help but keep reading. I hope you get a chance to read it--since you've already read something else by her, you'll know how good she is.
Litlove--I know how that goes--only too well. I can't even remember now which classics I read in high school (entire books--not even sure if I read them or not--ack). It's definitely a book that would de well with a reread!

Dorothy W.

Interesting! I think I might like reading about someone as awful as that. Awful characters can be great :) It's been a while since I've read Taylor; it might be fun to return to her before too long.

Danielle

Dorothy--I sort of like characters who are not necessarily nice--there's often more to them than likeable characters. I think anything Elizabeth Taylor writes about is apt to be very good. A coworker recommend View of the Harbor, so I have that sitting waiting for me next.

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