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Oh I enjoyed your review. The Sugar House has been on my tbr list for a long while. I've read the first two but didn't realise that it was a quartet. I actually preferred the second book to Frost in May.


I really need to read these, especially The Sugar House. You have crafted such a wonderful review of it. Thank you.


The first and second feel like quite different books/stories, don't they? I think there might have been a stretch of time between writing the two, or else she decided to fictionalize it more and so changed Clara's name. I think the third is better than the first two and maybe the last will be the best of all. I think you would like it if you decide to continue on with the story! And thanks for the kind words!


Thank you, Penny for the very kind words. The books are all really good, but I think they get better as they go. There is so much going on-so much to think about in the stories. I am really enjoying them and will be sad when I finish this last one. I have a book of her letters, however, and a collection of short stories, too!


I read all these some years ago and really enjoyed them. Nice review!

elizabeth Wix

I really loved all of Antonia White's stunning and moving books!
Yes, a definite must read for anyone who hasn't encountered her yet!
I'm reading Go tell it on the Mountain
very good and very dated- I'm very late in reading this!


Sounds like a good series. Poor Clara and Archie. Will you be starting the last book soon? I want to know what happens :)


Thanks Harriet--I'm very much enjoying this last book and will have to give her short stories a go as well. I do love Viragos--lots of good books there to explore!


They are really good, I agree. I am impressed by her writing and the whole way she constructed the story. I think the books must be fairly autobiographical, which makes me want to read about her now! Interesting about the Baldwin. I loved Giovanni's Room--another book with so much to it. I want to read all his books now! Will have to add that one to my wishlist!


A mismatch but also a good match--for friends that is. I am about 1/4 into the last book now and hope to finish it by the end of the month. You shall know soon! I do hope I didn't give too much away in my post--I was a little worried but with some books I think it doesn't matter so much about what happens as why and how the story is told and I didn't give away all the details! I will certainly let you know how it turns out! ;) I wonder myself if Clara will marry--or maybe she will go back to writing....hmm!


Danielle it's been so long since I've read any Virago books but the few that I've read have been so good. Like Persephone books I'm just so impressed and want to support an imprint that brings quality fiction like this. Great review and another for my wishlist!


I have a book of Antonia West's diaries, collated and edited by her eldest daughter which was a spur of the moment online purchase i.e. very cheap!
It covers early diaries from (I think, because I don't have the book beside me) the 1930's and although I have only read a very small amount it sounds to me as though she had quite a life and was possibly not the easiest of people to be around.
As with a lot of books of this kind, there are mentions of a lot of people, some of whom I have vaguely heard of but others about whom I don't have a clue so my reading gets interrupted by frequently going online to find out who's who which can be a bit of a thief of time as it is so easy to get side-tracked!


Every year I say I am going to read more Viragos, and since I have a whole bookcase of them, there is certainly no excuse. I am very much enjoying the White books--not sure what I will pick up after--how do you follow with reads like those! And I have loads of Peresephones, too. I seem to only ever manage to read a small handful--but maybe (maybe...) this will be a better year.


I have a book of her diaries or letters--one or the other, now I can't remember which and must go in search of it (which is always a dangerous prospect as I will end up carrying a pile of books as well as the White--if I manage to find it, that is). If I had planned better I would have pulled it out and read alongside the set of Clara books--I get the feeling that she drew quite a lot from her own life, which makes me think she had an interesting life and was quite conflicted. And I am not surprised to hear she might not have been the easiest person as I find Clara can not be the easiest character to always like! Yes, one books Always inevitably leads to another and another--particularly in the case of diaries or letters!


I think that she mixed with a fairly temperamental 'artistic' crowd and that seems to reflect in the diaries. The sort of people that too much exposure to generally results in a desire to lie down in a darkened room if you are not of the drama queen persuasion!


I really must dig out my book about her--I think it must be the same diary that you read. I imagine reading about her would be massively illuminating when it comes to reading Clara's story! And the theater world is truly a world unto itself!


Actors are definitely a mixed bunch! I have met a few since my granddaughter started working on a 'soap' and they seem to be either really lovely, down to earth people who treat it as just a job or completely precious 'luvvies' who think they are something special. Doesn't have anything to do with talent either - the most talented are often the nicest.


I am so intrigued by theater life,m which is maybe why I have so very many books set in the theater. I would love to be involved in some way, but I am far too afraid to try something like that. I would go on stage and immediately forget my lines, but it would be cool to volunteer in some way. Or if all else fails, just be an appreciative member of the audience! Over the weekend I saw Newsies, which was great fun and how those kids do all those flips and jumps just boggles my mind!


Then why don't you? I know a lot of people who are involved in amateur dramatics and there is always a lot to do with a production that doesn't involve actually performing and who knows ..maybe you would find that you had a talent for it?
A lot of the very best actors are actually quite shy off stage and only really happy if they have a character to lean on.
What's Newsies? Sounds like something that my granddaughter Isabella would like : she goes to gymnastics club and is utterly fearless - her mum hardly dares to watch!


Maybe I will get brave and try somehting, but it is always that first step, you know. And the fear of having to go it alone and possibly making a fool of myself (though have had plenty of practice in that area). I like the idea of taking on another persona and being someone else for just a while--and not having preconceived ideas of what I should be like. Newsies is a Broadway show :

Loads of singing and dancing and quite fun--it is a Disney production so you can imagine. It is turn of the century NYC and newsies are the kids who sell the papers on street corners and when Pulitzer decides to hike the price of papers they sell they strike. It was really quite good! I cannot imagine how they leap around and twist in the air and leap without even a spring board. Crazy. I bet your granddaughter would love it!

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