Tag Archives: women’s fiction

My Porridge & Cream read… @jane_fenwick60 #books #historical

Today I’m delighted to welcome historical novelist Jane Fenwick.  Her ‘Porridge & Cream’ read is Ross Poldark by Winston Graham.

Ross Poldark was first published in 1946. It’s surprisingly ‘modern’ and fresh even today. I first read it in the 1970s after the saga was made into a TV series. I was intrigued to see how different the two versions were. They were massively different as it turns out, the book being far better.

Jane Fenwick“There are twelve books in all but the first, Ross Poldark, is the one I reread time and time again. I’ve lost count exactly how many times I’ve read it. I go back to it time and time again because it’s like putting on a comfortable pair of old shoes. It always makes me feel better. Also, each time I read it I see something new, some scene which for some reason has new significance, some word choice which adds depth, some character detail I’d missed.

“I’m drawn to this book for two reasons; firstly the main character and secondly the writing style. The central character, Ross Poldark is not a hero, he’s flawed. He makes mistakes but has a conscience and a strong moral compass. Sometimes he is his own worst enemy but you understand his point of view because the reader is witness to not only his actions but his internal dialogue. He’s beautifully drawn.

“Winston Graham was a brilliant writer. The Poldark saga, set in eighteenth/nineteenth century Cornwall, is historically well researched and accurate. As a writer of historical fiction, I find this aspect of his writing very satisfying. WG manages to write unsentimentally about the times but with such warmth and insight that the reader becomes immersed in the story and the lives of the characters. Ross Poldark is the start of the journey and once read it’s impossible not to read the other eleven books in the series. But for me Ross Poldark is my favourite.”
Jane FenwickBUY THE BOOK

Jane’s Bio
Jane Fenwick lives in Settle in Yorkshire, England. She studied education at Sheffield University gaining a B Ed (Hons) in 1989 and going on to teach primary age range children. Jane decided to try her hand at penning a novel rather than writing school reports as she has always been an avid reader, especially enjoying historical and crime fiction. She decided to combine her love of both genres to write her first historical crime novel Never the Twain. Jane has always loved the sea and although she lives in the Yorkshire Dales she is particularly drawn to the North East coast of Yorkshire and Northumberland. This coastline is where she gets her inspiration. As she has always loved history, she finds the research particularly satisfying.

When she isn’t walking on Sandsend beach with her dog Scout, a Patterdale “Terrorist” she is to be found in her favourite coffee shop gazing out to sea and dreaming up her next plot.
Jane is currently writing a historical series again set on the North East coast beginning in 1765. The first two books, My Constant Lady and The Turning Tides were well received. Look out for the third and last in the series Safe Harbour in May 2021.

Jane’s links

Jane’s latest book
Jane FenwickGabriel Reynolds and his stunning red-haired wife Eleanor have settled happily into married life at Westshore… or have they? A woman with a loaded gun, a servant with a grudge, and a buccaneering Irish sea captain seem intent on rocking the boat. When Caroline Hodgeson makes what her ex-fiancé Gabriel sees as an unsuitable match, it sets off a chain of events which will change all their lives. And not for the better.
The Turning Tides, second in the Reynolds seafaring saga, is a tale of jealousy and jeopardy, mistrust and malice. The continuing tale of one man’s love for an unconventional woman.

What is a ‘Porridge & Cream’ book? It’s the book you turn to when you need a familiar read, when you are tired, ill, or out-of-sorts, where you know the story and love it. Where reading it is like slipping on your oldest, scruffiest slippers after walking for miles. Where does the name ‘Porridge & Cream’ come from? Cat Deerborn is a character in Susan Hill’s ‘Simon Serrailler’ detective series. Cat is a hard-worked GP, a widow with two children and she struggles from day-to-day. One night, after a particularly difficult day, she needs something familiar to read. From her bookshelf she selects ‘Love in A Cold Climate’ by Nancy Mitford. Do you have a favourite read which you return to again and again? If so, please send me a message.

Discover the ‘Porridge & Cream’ books of these authors:-
Sue Johnson’s choice is ‘Jamaica Inn’ by Daphne du Maurier
Sue Moorcroft chooses ‘A Town Like Alice’ by Nevil Shute
Chocolat’ by Joanne Harris is chosen by Kate Frost

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Why does @jane_fenwick60 re-read ROSS POLDARK by Winston Graham #books https://wp.me/p5gEM4-58D via @SandraDanby

#BookReview ‘Islands of Mercy’ by Rose Tremain #historical

In Bath, England in 1865, such are Jane Adeane’s nursing skills that she is known as the Angel of the Baths. Islands of Mercy by Rose Tremain is about Jane’s destiny to make something of herself, a journey which involves choosing between a tempestuous love affair with another woman and marriage to a respectable doctor. Being the Angel of the Baths is not enough for her and this impacts on the lives of everyone around her. Rose Tremain

Islands of Mercy is in fact three stories in one, lightly linked together by the merest connection and fleeting physical meeting. The story starts with Clorinda Morrissey who arrives in Bath from Ireland. ‘She was not beautiful, but she had a smile of great sweetness and a soft voice that could soothe and calm the soul’. By selling a ruby necklace, a family heirloom, Clorinda sets up what becomes a highly popular tea room. It is in this tea room that she first sees Jane Adeane who is taking tea with a man. Jane leaves abruptly and Clorinda is curious why. The man concerned is Doctor Valentine Ross, medical partner of Jane’s father Sir William Adeane and brother of naturalist Edmund Ross, currently pursing butterflies in the Malay Archipelago. In this scene, all three storylines are kickstarted.

The narrative moves back and forth from Bath to London, Dublin and Ireland’s west coast to Borneo. Each place is drawn vividly, Tremain is excellent at settings. In her descriptions of heterosexual and homosexual relationships, she explores the social limitations of the time on the free expression of love for men and women. While Jane can explore her own feelings for another woman only in extreme secrecy and risk of rejection by society, in Borneo a rich ‘rajah’ and his dependent servant live openly. Can Jane make her own way in the world or must she be conventional and marry a man. And can Clorinda’s independence at the tea shop continue or will she come to regret her sale of the ruby necklace. Is money necessary for happiness.

This is an unpredictable read. As Jane’s father Sir William comments, ‘We are overtaken by flashes of lightning and brilliant storms, and we can only submit.’ All the characters act on impulse and not all their decisions make sense, in particular Valentine’s behaviour changes so rapidly he seems a different man.

I was left with mixed feelings. As a Tremain fan dating back to The Colour, I wanted to enjoy this book more than I did. The writing, as always, is of the highest quality but it feels like three novels squeezed into one. I wanted to read more about Clorinda’s story, or concentrate on Jane, rather than go to Borneo which felt like an interruption to the main narrative.

My favourite Tremain novel remains The Colour. Read my review of Tremain’s The Gustav Sonata and see If books were food, ‘The Colour’ would be…

If you like this, try:-
At Mrs Lippincote’s’ by Elizabeth Taylor
Stanley and Elsie’ by Nicola Upson
Blackberry and Wild Rose’ by Sonia Velton

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A poem to read in the bath… ‘What I Learned From My Mother’ by Julia Kasdorf #poetry

Written in 1992 by American poet Julia Kasdorf, What I Learned From My Mother is a poem that crosses time, languages, cultures and continents. Its message is familiar to all women. The rituals of death and grieving, of condolence, of a kind word, flowers and chocolate cake and the blessing of your presence. Julia Kasdorf

This poem is subject to copyright restrictions. Please search for the full poem in an anthology or at your local library.

‘What I Learned From My Mother’

I learned from my mother how to love
the living, to have plenty of vases on hand
in case you have to rush to the hospital
with peonies cut from the lawn, black ants
still stuck to the buds. I learned to save jars
large enough to hold fruit salad for a whole
grieving household, to cube home-canned pears
and peaches, to slice through maroon grape skins
and click out the sexual seeds with a knife point.

Julia KasdorfBUY THE BOOK

Read these other excerpts and find a new poet to love:-
‘Invictus’ by WE Henley 
Runaways’ by Daniela Nunnari
Valediction’ by Seamus Heaney 

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#BookReview ‘Charlotte Brontë A Life’ by Claire Harman #books #writerslife

How did Charlotte Brontë create the character of Jane Eyre? Was Villette really based on a doomed love affair in Brussels? How much of the real author is in these novels? If you have read Charlotte Brontë’s books, you will have asked yourself these questions. The biography Charlotte Brontë: A Life by Claire Harman provides some fascinating answers. Claire Harman

This is the first biography of Brontë I have read and I wish I had read it sooner. Harman tells the enthralling story of the family whose losses, grief, hardship, isolation and disappointments populate the novels of the three sisters – Charlotte, Emily and Anne. It is impossible to write about Charlotte without writing about the family, and particularly about Emily, Anne and brother Branwell. Everyone knows the headline facts about the Brontës – Haworth parsonage, mother and siblings dying, Branwell’s addiction, and the imaginary kingdoms of Angria and Dondal in which the children lose themselves. But Harman makes the history accessible, telling the life of Charlotte in chronological order starting briefly with her father Patrick.

There are clear references to real life appearing in the novels and Harman casts light on the writing process of Charlotte and her sisters. For a novelist, this is required reading. Some of Charlotte’s experiences written about in letters appear directly in her novels, along with paragraphs lifted from journals and lines and passages lifted from works earlier abandoned. Harman extensively quotes Elizabeth Gaskell – who wrote the first biography of Charlotte Brontë published in 1857, based largely on Charlotte’ letters sent to her friend Ellen Nussey – and Charlotte’s correspondence with friends and her London publisher.

It is a tragic story but Harman is never over-sentimental. She is excellent at pairing characters, incidents and emotions in the novels with Charlotte’s real life.

A must read for any novelist who is a fan of the Brontë novels.

If you like this, try:-
Searching for the Secret River’ by Kate Grenville
Giving up the Ghost’ by Hilary Mantel
On Writers and Writing’ by Margaret Atwood 

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CHARLOTTE BRONTË: A LIFE by Claire Harman #bookreview https://wp.me/p5gEM4-3Xi via @SandraDanby

#Bookreview ‘The Tuscan Contessa’ by @DinahJefferies #WW2

The Tuscan Contessa by Dinah Jefferies is a story of women at war where trust, between women, between strangers, is at the core of everything. Although the book’s title refers to Contessa Sofia de’ Corsi this is also the story of Italian-American Maxine, recruited by English special services to the fight against fascism in Tuscany. Once there and charged with assessing the ability and armaments of Italian partisans, Maxine she finds the fight is not only against the Germans but between Italian groups suspicious of each other. Dinah Jefferies

It is 1943 and in the exquisitely beautiful Tuscan countryside, trust is in short supply. Strangers may be spies or escaping Allied soldiers, the penalty for helping enemies has been followed by retaliation – massacres of villagers by the Nazis. Maxine, with her odd sounding Italian accent, must prove her worth if she is to do her job. She must also learn who to trust. When Maxine’s radio engineer James is wounded, he is sheltered by Sofia in her isolated castello. And so though very different characters, Maxine and Sofia find themselves on the same side; one is young, energetic and full of zeal, the other more cautious and concerned with protecting her husband’s legacy and castello. Neither can imagine the horrors they will see, and the risks they must take, before the war is ended.

The power of Jefferies’ story comes from the juxtaposition of the brutality and blood of war with the beauty of the Italian countryside. The stately villas of Sofia – Castello de’Corsi and in Florence – contribute both atmospherically and practically to the story, offering glimpses into the pre-war and wartime life, as well as hiding places and storage for contraband. And while the women hide their bottled fruit and vegetables, and knit secretly at night – jumpers and socks to keep the partisans warm throughout winters spent hidden in forests and caves – there is the uneasy feeling that some villagers continue to support the fascist cause and inform to the Germans. While Maxine goes on increasingly perilous missions with the partisans, Sofa must handle the unwelcome attention of a German officer whose smiles glint with the promise of sadism.

The book is the result of copious research and visits to locations and gives a clear and often difficult-to-read portrayal of real Tuscan villages during the German occupation. Jefferies shows the complicated moral dilemmas for Italians fighting first one enemy and then another, as the enemy hated at the beginning of the war becomes by 1943 the only hope of salvation. Every woman lives in a constant state of ‘not knowing’; not knowing who to trust, not knowing if a loved one is away fighting, injured, captured or dead. And meanwhile, daily life continues. Children are loved, babies are beget, love is declared and food is made and eaten. In the background is the gossip of reprisals and villagers killed, while in the foreground the women of Castello de’ Corsi continue to exist. As spring arrives with blue skies and beautiful wildflowers, the killing continues.

A moving story of women in wartime facing impossible odds, finding hidden courage and a dash of recklessness in order to fight the enemy. And the recognition of the line which, when crossed, means that your own life ceases to matter when the death of an enemy is preferable. Trust, between women, between strangers, is at the heart of everything.

Read my reviews of The Tea Planter’s Wife and The Sapphire Widow, both by Dinah Jefferies.

If you like this, try these:-
The Burning Chambers’ by Kate Mosse
In Another Life’ by Julie Christine Johnson
The Tuscan Secret’ by Angela Petch

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#BookReview ‘Miss Benson’s Beetle’ by Rachel Joyce #adventure

What an uplifting read is Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce, an author who never fails to deliver a read that is both thoughtful and chuckle-out-loud. It is a tale of failure, friendship, the spirit of adventure and never-say-die. Above all it is a story of not giving up, never allowing yourself to be defeated. Rachel Joyce

Margery Benson has never fit in, never married. It is 1950 and she is a teacher at a girls’ school, mocked and ridiculed by pupils, never liked by colleagues. Alone now after the death of her aunts who raised her after the death of her parents, she knows she lacks self-worth but doesn’t know how to change things. The one thing that gives her pleasure is remembering time spent as a child with her father who encouraged her to read. Her favourite book was Incredible Creatures, an illustrated guide to extinct and ‘never found’ animals. Margery fell in love with a gold beetle suspected to be living on the Pacific island of New Caledonia.

A sequence of events sets the middle-aged Margery on an ocean liner bound for Australia in search of both the beetle and a purpose for her life. After interviewing and rejecting three unsuitable people for the job of her assistant, Margery is resigned to travelling alone. Until she is joined at the last minute by probably the most unsuitable of the three applicants, Enid Pretty. ‘Her hair was a stiff puff with the perky hat pinned on top; about as useful in terms of sun protection as a beer mat on her head.’ Unbeknown to both women, they are being followed by someone else. And unbeknown to Margery, Enid has another reason for wanting to leave the country in a hurry.

I read this at a pace as the women negotiate prejudice, snobbishness, barriers and phobias. Joyce doesn’t spare the at times graphic detail of two unsuitable women on a tropical island facing cyclones, eels, hunger and illness, trekking through the jungle, in search of a beetle that probably doesn’t exist.

A joyful book.

Read my reviews of The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy and Perfect and read the first paragraph of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, all by Rachel Joyce.

If you like this, try:-
The Signature of All Things’ by Elizabeth Gilbert
Doppler’ by Erlend Loe
Highland Fling’ by Nancy Mitford

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MISS BENSON’S BEETLE by Rachel Joyce #bookreview https://wp.me/p5gEM4-4UW via @SandraDanby

#BookReview ‘Transcription’ by Kate Atkinson #literary #WW2

Few of the characters in Transcription by Kate Atkinson are who they seem to be. A novel of the Second World War, Transcription suggests that the ripples of wartime secrecy spread out through the following years so that outstanding lies and betrayals are eventually repaid. Many years later. Kate Atkinson

In 1940, Juliet Armstrong intends to join one of the women’s armed forces when she receives a letter on government notepaper and is summoned to an interview. After being informed by telegram that she has got the, still unspecified, job, Juliet boards a bus which takes her to Wormwood Scrubs prison, now converted into government offices. There she works in Registry, shuffling files around, until Perry Gibbons says, ‘I need a girl’ and Juliet finds herself working for Perry’s MI5 counter-fascism team at a flat in Dolphin Square.

Told across two timelines, 1940 and 1950 – with a brief glimpse at 1981 in the prologue and epilogue – Transcription has a huge cast of characters, most of whom I confused and, I suspect, Atkinson wishes me to confuse. Some characters are spies with cover names, some are only described and have no name while others seem innocent, too innocent to actually be innocent. If this is all confusing, it is meant to be. That is Atkinson’s point. This is a story about the importance of truth and how lies, which seem pragmatic and normal in wartime, are still lies. And that the most obvious traitors are not always the ones to be worried about.

The 1940 storyline covers the MI5 operation. At first, Juliet’s job is type up transcripts of bugged conversations between fascist supporters in the next door flat; later she takes on the persona of Iris to infiltrate a group of fascist agitators. Sometimes she fluffs her lines, sometimes she is impulsive and gets into trouble. At all times she feels isolated and unsure of the value of what she is doing. She is also a young woman and looks for signs of interest from the men surrounding her. In 1950, while working in the Schools Department of the BBC making educational radio programmes with titles such as ‘Can I Introduce You To?’ and ‘Have You Met?’, she sees familiar faces from her wartime days and the past revisits her.

Atkinson excels at the small detail which makes these workplaces convincing, creating believable relationships between Juliet and radio engineer Cyril at Dolphin Square, and with junior programme engineer Lester Pelling at the BBC. I enjoyed this book but wouldn’t describe it as a page turner. I’m not sure I liked Juliet but she held enough fascination for me as I tried to figure out what she did and didn’t believe in. I was never totally sure if I believed in her.

The Author’s Note at the end of the book is fascinating and perhaps would have served better as a Foreword. So, in summary, not my favourite Atkinson novel but not a bad one either.

Read my reviews of Life after Life and A God in Ruins.

If you like this, try:-
The Heat of the Day’ by Elizabeth Bowen
After the Party’ by Cressida Connolly
Shelter’ by Sarah Franklin

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TRANSCRIPTION by Kate Atkinson #bookreview https://wp.me/p5gEM4-4cx via @SandraDanby

#BookReview ‘The Distance Between Us’ by Maggie O’Farrell #contemporary

Two strangers, both with troubled personal lives, are thousands of miles apart. The Distance Between Us by Maggie O’Farrell is about Stella in London and Jake in Hong Kong and how these two people so far distant, geographically and emotionally, can come together. This novel is basically a romance with two layers of mystery intertwined. Maggie O’Farrell

It starts at Chinese New Year when Jake is caught in a horrendous crowd crush with his girlfriend Mel and her friend Lucy. Mel is badly injured, Lucy is dead. When a doctor tells Jake that Mel will not live through the night, he agrees to her wish to marry.

In London, Stella is walking home across Waterloo Bridge when she sees a solitary figure walking towards her, a red-haired man. The sight of him triggers a flight instinct and she flees home to Scotland. Not to her family in Edinburgh and Musselburgh, but to work in a remote country hotel. She avoids the telephone calls from her sister Nina. The truth behind Stella’s panic and the significance of the red-haired man is a long time coming, too long really.

In Hong Kong, Mel survives and Jake travels to the UK with her to stay with her family. Jake thinks this is a visit, planning to return to his job in Hong Kong as a film production assistant. But Mel wants a white wedding. Saying he wants to travel to Scotland to research the identity of his father, he was raised in Hong Kong by his British mother, Jake heads north in search of a village called Kildoune. His mother gave him this surname, named after the father he has never known. Kildoune, it turns out, is not a village but a hotel. The hotel where Stella now works. And so the two storylines come together. As with any romance, the two main characters come together, step away, and dance around each other as Stella’s history is unveiled.

A note about the chapter-less structure. The storyline skips back and forth from viewpoint to viewpoint, present day to past, so quickly I felt dizzy at times. It was confusing for the first third or so of the book and I wished for conventional chapters, after that it remained mildly irritating.

The Distance Between Us is O’Farrell’s third novel but it feels more like an earlier novel, perhaps written before her successful debut After You’d Gone. The storyline of Jake’s hunt for his father is left unfinished; the character development of Nina is thin which makes her behaviour as an adult difficult to understand; and I lost track of the family histories of both Jake and Stella with parents, grandparents and friends making a total of too many characters that don’t contribute to the main narrative.

Read the first paragraph of After You’d Gone; and learn how O’Farrell writes without being distracted here.

If you like this, try these:-
‘The Roundabout Man’ by Clare Morrall
‘Another You’ by Jane Cable
Summertime’ by Vanessa Lafaye

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#BookReview ‘Mum & Dad’ by Joanna Trollope #familysaga

I remember reading Joanna Trollope’s novels in the Eighties – The Choir, A Village Affair, A Passionate Man, The Rector’s Wife – and loving them. Somehow, I stopped reading her and I can’t remember why. These weren’t strictly her first novels, she’d previously published a number of historical novels under the pen name Caroline Harvey. So now I come to Mum & Dad. I devoured it in a couple of days, partly because it is set in a part of Spain I know very well, and partly because Trollope is a master storyteller. Joanna Trollope

When her husband Gus has a stroke, Monica’s three children descend to their parents’ vineyard in Southern Spain. Gus and Monica have lived near Ronda for twenty-five years; it is their home, but they are distanced from their children who have children of their own, busy lives and marital tensions. The eldest Sebastian runs a cleaning company with his wife, Anna, who has never got on with her mother-in-law. Katie is a lawyer who, with husband Nic, must deal with a bombshell dropped by one of their three daughters at an inconvenient time. And Jake, with partner Bella and toddler Mouse, seems to deal lightly with the truth and is oddly eager to move to Spain and help out his father.

The problem is, Monica is not sure any more what she wants. She loves her house in Spain but struggles with her irascible grumpy husband; she is terrified of what his stroke will do to his personality, and to their life. Their life there seems so settled. They run the vineyard and their house with the help of Pilar and a team of Spanish workers. Gus is proud of the awards his wines have won, and Monica loves her early morning cup of tea looking at the view south to Gibraltar. But now all this is under threat. Each of the three children arrives at the vineyard with their own ideas of what is best for Monica and Gus, and for themselves. What none of them anticipate is the way long-held resentments, jealousies and misunderstandings will affect what happens next.

Trollope is a master at showing the complexities of ordinary people, the things they don’t know about themselves, and the way families inter-act by sticking with good and bad habits ingrained by time as the normal way of communicating. When something happens, like Gus’s stroke, those habits are broken. Trollope turns a magnifying glass on petty jealousies, unrealistic expectations and lies told that are bigger than they first seem. She gets under the skin of how families react to challenges, how choices made by one member of the family affect everyone else, and where responsibilities lay.

The solution found at the end is perhaps a little too easy but this is a positive story about how lack of communication and the fissures this causes over the years, can be rectified with a little forgive and forget.

You can expect to read a lot more reviews here of Joanna Trollope’s books as I starting re-read them from the beginning.

If you like this, try:-
The Cheesemaker’s House’ by Jane Cable
The Language of Flowers’ by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
The Little House’ by Philippa Gregory

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MUM & DAD by Joanna Trollope #bookreview https://wp.me/p5gEM4-4Kd via @SandraDanby

#BookReview ‘The Glass House’ by Eve Chase #historical #mystery

This story takes place in a forest and I could smell the humus rich soil, see the ferns, hear the rustlings of small mammals and imagine the blending of shadows and sunlight. In The Glass House by Eve Chase, the mysterious happenings in a forest have ramifications across the decades. Shame, deceit, secrets and love are bound-up together in a group of people whose lives are coloured forever by what happened in the Forest of Dean in 1971. Eve ChaseWhen nanny Big Rita drives her boss’s wife, Jeannie Harrington and Jeannie’s two children Hera and Freddy to their country house in the West of England, they enter a different world. Leaving behind Jeannie’s husband Walter at their sugar-white stucco house in Primrose Hill, and her own unhappy memories, Rita is cautious about the mysterious forest with its rustling noises and the feeling of being watched. She spends every hour with the children while Jeannie, recovering after the loss of a baby, spends her time in bed. And then Hera finds a baby girl abandoned in the woods. This is the catalyst for a number of things happening at once, things that upset the status quo and challenge Rita’s place in the Harrington family and what she wants for her own life. Most disturbing to her equilibrium is local woodsman Robbie Rigby.
The second timeline is set now and is told by Sylvie who has just left her husband and moved into a flat beside a canal in Kensal Town. Sylvie is taking time to find her feet away from husband Steve and teenage daughter Annie who is staying with her grandmother beside the sea in Devon. But two incidents quickly challenge Sylvie’s perceptions about what actually matters to her.
And there is a delicious hint in the short Prologue – a report in a Gloucestershire newspaper in 1971 about a body found in the forest near Foxcote Manor.
I found the structure slightly messy with varying pace which at times was rather slow. I was longing for some connections to be made so the story could move on. Looking back at my review of Chase’s The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde, I made a similar comment. The last scenes seemed to tie up loose ends rather too quickly and neatly in comparison with the earlier speed of the story, but that’s just my personal preference. Eve Chase writes a great sense of place; Foxcote Manor seems a real house set in a real forest.
As Robbie explains to Rita, ‘when a giant tree crashes down in a forest, light and air rush into the cleared space, dormant seeds flower, and new life scrambles up, taking its chance.’ That’s basically what happens to the people in The Glass House.
Incidentally, the glass house mentioned in the title, and featured on the lovely cover, refers to a terrarium. Rita owns one in 1971 and her care of the plants living in it – she gives them names – mirrors her care of the two children, but also symbolises the fragility and transparency of the lives of the Harrington family at Foxcote Manor.

Read my reviews of these other novels by Eve Chase:-

If you like this, try:-
Good Me Bad Me’ by Ali Land
The Doll Funeral’ by Kate Hamer
The Invitation’ by Lucy Foley

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THE GLASS HOUSE by Eve Chase #bookreview https://wp.me/p5gEM4-4KW via @SandraDanby