Hi there, guys and dolls! And here we are – already Raves n Faves Thursday. Nice going, everybody! Today I’m going to share with you some books of one of my favorite authors, Mary Wesley. She didn’t get her novels published until she was in her seventies, but her books are anything but staid and retiring.
Her books are full of unexpected characters that appeared on the surface as average, even boring. But nothing could be further from the truth. Twists, turns, quirks abound. If you haven’t read her books, here’s a chance to get acquainted with her works. And if you have, maybe it’s time to revisit your long forgotten literary pals. Just click on the images or the titles to be taken to Book Depository links to the books.
JUMPING THE QUEUE – Matilda Poliport, recently widowed and largely estranged from her four adult children, has decided to End It All. She has cleaned her cottage, given away her beloved pet goose and burnt any incriminating letters. Now all that remains for her to do is eat her picnic, take her pills and swim out into the ocean. But her meticulously planned bid for graceful oblivion is interrupted when she foils the suicide bid of another lost soul – Hugh Warner, on the run from the police – and life begins again for them both.
Life, however, is never that simple and awkward questions demand answers. What, for example, was Matilda’s husband Tom doing in Paris? Why does Matilda’s next door neighbour see UFOs in the skies of Cornwall? And why did Hugh kill his mother?
THE CAMOMILE LAWN – Behind the large house, the fragrant camomile lawn stretches down to the Cornish cliffs. Here, in the dizzying heat of August 1939, five cousins have gathered at their aunt’s house for their annual ritual of a holiday. For most of them it is the last summer of their youth, with the heady exhilarations and freedoms of lost innocence, as well as the fears of the coming war.
The Camomile Lawn moves from Cornwall to London and back again, over the years, telling the stories of the cousins, their family and their friends, united by shared losses and lovers, by family ties and the absurd conditions imposed by war as their paths cross and recross over the years. Mary Wesley presents an extraordinarily vivid and lively picture of wartime London: the rationing, imaginatively circumvented; the fallen houses; the parties, the new-found comforts of sex, the desperate humour of survival – all of it evoked with warmth, clarity and stunning wit. And through it all, the cousins and their friends try to hold on to the part of themselves that laughed and played dangerous games on that camomile lawn.
HARNESSING PEACOCKS – Hebe sits in the darkness and listens to her hypocritical grandparents and her older siblings discuss how her unexpected pregnancy must be terminated to avoid the shame it will bring. Determined to raise her child, she flees into the night with only her mother’s jewellery to support her.
Twelve years later she is living happily alone in Cornwall, whilst her son attends an expensive private school. Hebe has harnessed her two great talents – cooking and making love – to make a living for herself, but when the separate strands of her life become entangled the even tenor of her days is threatened, and her world changes forever.
THE VACILLATIONS OF POPPY CAREW – Poppy Carew has just been dumped by her unscrupulous boyfriend, Edmund, when her beloved and eccentric father dies, leaving Poppy one last request – that she ensure he is buried in style by a ‘fun’ undertaker – and one large fortune.
Carrying out his wishes, Poppy finds not only a fun funeral parlour, and an equally fun wake peopled with very generous old ladies who all seem to know her father very well, but also several eligible young men, all of whom are keen to get to know the new heiress. And when Edmund remembers the charms that he quickly forgot in the arms of his new lover, Venetia, there are suddenly too many choices for Poppy Carew…
NOT THAT SORT OF GIRL – When, on the night of their wedding, Ned asks his new wife Rose to promise that she will never leave him, Rose is quick to give her aristocratic husband her word: keeping it, however, proves harder.
For even on the day when she has promised to forsake all others, Rose’s heart is with the true love of her life, Mylo, the penniless but passionate Frenchman who, within five minutes of their meeting declared his love and asked her to marry him.
Whilst Rose remains true to her promise never to leave Ned, not even the war, social conventions, nor the prying of her overly inquisitive and cheerfully immoral neighbours, can stop her and Mylo from meeting and loving one another.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more posts. And don’t forget to give my Poppy Cove Mysteries a try if you haven’t already.
Toodles, Barbara Jean