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July 2019



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October Books

Fall of a Philanderer, Carola Dunn
Gunpowder Plot, Carola Dunn
The Bloody Tower, Carola Dunn
The Black Ship, Carola Dunn
Sheer Folly, Carola Dunn
The Brontë Plot, Katherine Reay
Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
Anthem for Doomed Youth, Carola Dunn
A Youthful Indiscretion, Elizabeth Edmondson
US, David Nicholls
Gone West, Carola Dunn
Finding Philippe: Lost in France, Elizabeth Edmondson

As you see, I finished my re-read of all the Daisy Dalrymple books, apart from the last two, which I don’t have. They never let me down.

I re-read Cold Comfort Farm because landgirl happened to mention it. To my disappointment, I found it to be yet another book (like The Diary of a Provincial Lady) which I like less than I used to do. I realised that what I love about the book are certain scenes and sentences and that these vignettes are surrounded by longeurs. What a shame.

coughingbear alerted me to the existence of A Youthful Indiscretion, also to the fact that Elizabeth Edmondson and Elizabeth Pewsey are one and the same person. A Youthful Indiscretion is rather a sell, to be honest. True, it is the missing link between the two Very English Mysteries but, novella? I read it in half an hour! I see the price has gone up since I bought it, too. No such disappointment with Finding Philippe: Lost in France, which was a Kindle deal one day. I absolutely loved it! Set again in the post-war period it follows Vicky’s flight from depressing London to the south of France. It’s not just a holiday; she wants to find out the truth about her wartime lover, Philippe. What she discovers is a lot of contradictory evidence: dead or alive, hero or traitor? Soaked in French atmosphere, with the thrill of the chase and danger for Vicky, it reminded me a lot of some of Mary Stewart's novels. I note that this book states ‘Copyright Elizabeth Pewsey 2001, Elizabeth Edmondson 2015.’ I can’t wait to read more by her, under either name.

I loved US by David Nicholls and put three other books on hold while I read it. The narrator is still madly in love with his wife Connie. Then she suddenly announces that she’s not happy and will move out when their son Albie leaves home. Douglas loves his son but can’t understand him. He plans a Grand Tour of Europe which he hopes will mend his marriage and prove educational, in an eighteenth century way, for Albie. The trouble is that the three of them rarely want to do the same things. All my sympathy is with the narrator; I found it hard to like Connie. The book is described as both sad and funny. This sentence demonstrates the truth of that: ‘While there was breath in my body, she would never lack sufficient AA batteries.’ It’s funny, yet I thought it the saddest line in the book. Poignant, or what?


I thought Connie was pretty selfish.

The bit that I most admired was Connie reading a James Salter novel, and Douglas's troubled incomprehension of the jacket blurb. Summed them both up.
Phew, glad you agree about Connie.
Cold Comfort Farm will always be one of my favourite ever books, but I didn't enjoy reading it this time quite as much as I have done before. I know what you mean.
Weird, isn't it? I expect I'll still read it again some time.
There are some books (Jane Austen springs to mind) that seem to get better each time you read them, and others that don't quite live up to your memories on re-reading. I have tried re-reading some of the books I read as a teenager (China Court by Rumer Godden is one of them) and wondered what exactly I had enjoyed so much about them.
Oh, I re-read China Court not all that long ago and I did still enjoy it.
I couldn't agree more about Jane Austen.


Don't know if you've already noticed, but there's one more 'Elizabeth' pseudonym - Edmondson/Pewsey also wrote a series called The Mountjoys, as Elizabeth Aston.
That's news to me! Thank you.