Hi there, guys and dolls! How’s your week going? Looking for something to read? Yours truly has a great suggestion for you. One of my favorite 20th century novelists is Elizabeth Jane Howard. Now I’ve mentioned her Cazalet series as an audio version, but here’s a list of some of her other great novels. Just click on the title or image to be taken to an Amazon book/Kindle listing.
THE BEAUTIFUL VISIT (1950) – Life had been distinctly lacking in possibilities – until The Visit. But, ever afterwards, just remembering the smell of the Lancings’ house would enrapture her, taking her back to that very first day when Lucy and Gerald had picked her up from the station. Alll the longing, excitement and poignant comedy of adolescence are captured in Elizabeth Jane Howard’s first novel The Beautiful Visit, about a young girl growing up in the years around the First World War.
Beginning and ending with a visit to the same family, it is a novel full of love, loss, and the ever-lasting effect of war.
THE LONG VIEW (1956) – Moving backwards in time from 1950 to 1926, The Long View paints an unusually revealing portrait of a marriage. It traces the lives of Antonia and Conrad Fleming through the eyes of Antonia, as she looks back on her married life and unravels her choices – good and bad – and the motivations behind them. An uncannily authentic take on matrimony from the long view – from both the outside in and present to past – Antonia and Conrad Fleming’s story is as extraordinary as it is prosaic, as gut-wrenching as it is exhilarating.
THE SEA CHANGE (1959) – Emmanuel is a famous playwright. Lillian is his sickly and embittered wife. They have never fully buried the memory of their dead daughter, Sarah. Rich but discontented, they flit from capital to capital in the company of their hero-worshiping young manager. Then Alberta, straight from an English vicarage and the pages of Jane Austen, is appointed as Emmanuel’s secretary. This prim and utterly delightful figure helps the family in ways they didn’t know they needed. One by one the leopards change their spots.
AFTER JULIUS (1965) – It is twenty years since Julius died, but his last heroic action still affects the lives of the people he left behind. Emma, his youngest daughter, twenty-seven years old and afraid of men. Cressida, her sister, a war widow, blindly searching for love in her affairs with married men. Esme, Julius’s widow, still attractive at fifty-eight, but aimlessly lost in the routine of her perfect home. Felix, Esme’s old lover, who left her when Julius died and who is still plagued by guilt for his action. And Dan, an outsider. Throughout a disastrous – and revelatory – weekend in Sussex, the influence of the dead Julius slowly emerges.
SOMETHING IN DISGUISE (1969) – May’s second marriage to Colonel Herbert Brown-Lacy is turning out to be a terrible mistake. Her son, Oliver, leaves home only to drift from one affair to another; his sister Elizabeth follows him, yearning for some kind of secure relationship. While even Alice, Herbert’s meek daughter, is driven into marriage to escape her father’s sinister behaviour. At once a candid depiction of a post-war family on the cusp of change and a touching love story, Something in Disguise embodies the startling truth, wit and daring that Elizabeth Jane Howard is renowned for.
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