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Liz F

I have four of her books including Crewe Train on my shelves but have never got around to reading one of them which is rather shameful but absolutely typical!
This sounds like just what I want to read at the moment and I think I know which box it resides in (!)so I must go and fish it out!
Thanks for an inspiring review!


I found a copy of The World My Wilderness in a charity shop while in Canterbury. My daughter laughed that I had been in town less than half an hour and already purchased a book. It sounds like just the sort of book I like best so I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it, Danielle! Crewe Train also sounds like it would fit the bill...bursting bookcase be damned.


I especially liked the bits on books and publishing too -- a lot of what she said about reviewing would apply just as well today, I think! I enjoyed her flip, neat style, also, but I didn't really love this particular novel. Maybe I too should pick up The Towers of Trebizond. She seems to be such an interesting character that I'd like to know her at her best.


I have not read anything by Rose Macaulay, but you have certainly increased my interest. I also find that when I start with reading the best or one of the best of an author's work it does not spoil the rest for me. Sometimes it even makes me more forgiving of the more minor works.


Oh, just when I decide to stop buying books this comes along! I always like reading about misfits and Denham sounds like a gem.


I want to read her very soon as well. This sounds excellent. I like books about writing and publishing. From what you wrote about The World My Wilderness somewhere else I still thought you like that even better? But making your top 10 is a high recommendation and I'll get to this sooner or later too.


Which other titles do you have and are they all Viragos? I have read World My Wilderness (which was a postal book, so not my own), and have Told by an Idiot and Crewe Train--both Viragos. Now of course I want to read more. Don't feel bad about not having read the books--I can say that about Countless books that are on my shelves.... I have really enjoyed both books however!


What a great find and so glad you brought it back with you! I think you will like her very much! Somehow I don't think it would be hard to find a good book while visiting England but within the first hour is indeed pretty impressive! ;) Sometimes you have to ignore those groaning bookshelves--Rose Macaulay will be an excellent addition to it!


The bits about books and publishing were fun. I liked the first book I read by her as well as this one--sorry to hear this one didn't quite do it for you, but it's nice to know her best is still out there in case you want to try her again. She does seem to have lead an interesting life--I am hoping to read more about her.


That's good to hear--of course my favorite of her novels might also not end up being the one the critics call her best, so it seems like a good idea to keep an open mind! I'm all for being forgiving with authors and books--especially those I have really enjoyed in the past.


I say the same thing quite often! I think there are lots of used Virago editions of her books out there so maybe you can find one that won't mess up your budget too much! :) Denham is an interesting character--I liked her but found her a little exasperating, too.


Wow--sounds like a wonderful book. I definitely will look for it sooner than later. Macaulay sounds quite the intriguing woman, as well. I have not read anything by her, so this will be my introduction.


This year has flown by--was it only earlier in the year that I read The World My Wilderness. Now that I think of them both I'm not sure which I would call my favorite--I liked them both in different ways, though both the protagonists were somewhat similar. Now I'll have to choose wen I make my favorites list. I will most certainly be reading more by her.


I really enjoyed it--if you happen across her she's worth taking a look at. I've requested a biography of her via ILL (by the same woman who wrote the intro), so I'm really looking forward to getting that!


Everyone's reading this! I feel very left out (and jealous). I'm trying to read The Towers of Trebizond, but I can't get in to it.


(Sorry - I see my www address is showing up with a letter reversed so it redirects to a Christian site. Hmmm.)


I've been avoiding your review until after I wrote about it. I liked the book quite a lot too. Found it fun and funny and I liked Denham quite a bit, especially her smuggler's cave. The ending leaves things up in the air and I hope we can talk about it in the forum!


Like Stefanie, I've come here only after writing my review! It was great to read yours - you do a wonderful job of summing it up. I enjoyed it very much, although got confused when trying to figure out whose side Macaulay was on in the satire (answer being probably: everyone's). I do wish I'd had an introduction in my copy - that would have been a huge help!


I brought home TTT to read next but I think I am going to have to wait until next year as I just took a good look at my night table and I really need to finish some of those books or I'll not be starting next year with a very clean slate!! Crewe Train is an amusing read--very light and maybe a good place to start with her work.


Ack--I've pasted your blog address into the spot from behind the scenes--scary how far astray a mis-typing can send you!


The smugglers cave sounded like great fun, though I think I would have been like Arnold and all ready to return to a hot, clean bed at the end of the day! I'm glad you enjoyed it, too. It was a very amusing story--lighter than the other book I read by her, though I liked that one quite a lot, too. I've enjoyed reading everyone's take on the book--it's always illuminating to hear other perspectives!


I think she was skewering both sides--at least that's the way it seems. She didn't seem to come out in favor of one over the other very strongly really, though, I think maybe like Denham she did think a lot of Society nonsense was a little silly and unnecessary. The intro was really very interesting to read and I am glad I happened to have a copy that had something more about the book--it's always helpful to read a little criticism or additional information. Now I want to read more about Dame Macaulay.


I have World My Wilderness, Crewe Train and Told By An Idiot in Virago editions but I have The Towers of Trebizond in a hardback Book Society edition from the 1950's.
I am ashamed to say that the latter has been on my shelves, unread, since the early 1980's.

I know this because when my sister in law moved into a large old mansion flat, along with a room full of fitted book shelves, she also inherited two long shelves-worth of Book Society hardbacks all dating back to the late 1950's.
She very kindly gave me the pick of the books and I came away with books by Rumer Godden, Rosamund Lehman, Elizabeth Bowen, Elizabeth Jane Howard, Rebecca West and Elspeth Huxley as well as the Rose Macauley. Over the years I have read all but the Macauley - hopefully I will get around to her sooner rather than later!


Thank you for fixing that, Danielle - much appreciated. I dread to think how many time I may have mistyped it now all over the place. I am determined to finish TTT - let's see how I go!

Simon T

Lovely review, Dani, and so pleased that you loved Crewe Train! I think Denham is such an interesting character - how brilliant to manage to create a character who is wholly indifferent to society! And I definitely agree that the ending is quite sad - but funny too - in Macaulay's very dry fashion. I recommend Keeping Up Appearances next!

Buried In Print

That's a tough one, whether to go "straight to her best". I never know what to do in that case either. Glad to hear that you found this one so enjoyable though!


How could she give up all those lovely books? That is a serious haul--and all good stuff. You have to read something by Rose Macaulay--I loved this one and really liked World is My Wilderness. I have a bio now out from the library to read as well. I wonder if it was only the three books that Virago published of her works.


You're most welcome--and I hope TTT has gotten much better for you.


Thanks for the suggestion. I have duly ordered a copy and will read it next. I think I'll save The Towers of Trebizond--will have to buy a copy of that as well since she is worth having in my own collection. I'm going to read a bio of her next.


Will the other books then seem pale comparisons? She wrote so many books I am going to hold off on Towers for a bit. There is plenty of time. Maybe she's a writer where even her so-so books are still really good.

Liz F

I was very lucky but there were huge numbers of books - the shelves were about twelve feet long.
My sister in law does read but I don't think that she was familiar with the authors whereas I recognised some names from talking to my mum about what she had read in the 30's, 40's and 50's.
Not sure how many of Rose Macauley's books Virago published but I am now intrigued to find out so I will do some digging and see what I can discover.


Definitely a lucky find. Of course if I came across the same books maybe ten or fifteen years ago (pre-blogging/online days) I wonder if I would have had a clue as to their contents either?! I have Told by an Idiot and Crewe Train by RM on hand. You'd think they would also have published The Towers of Trebizond since it is her most famous.

Liz F

As far as I can tell, Virago have not published The Towers of Trebizond and the most recent paperback version was published in October by a company called Farrar Strauss Giroux according to Amazon.
Does make you wonder why doesn't it?


It must have been under copyright with some other publisher I guess--as it seems to be considered her best, you'd think Virago would have published it as well. My library owns it but I think I want to own it, too, so I'll look for a copy somewhere. I bet my favorite used bookstore has her work--I just would have preferred to buy a Virago edition if there had been one out there.

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