Set during the aftermath of World War Two, this warm, funny, intelligent audiobook will delight listeners. The Flight of the Maidens follows the lives of three maturing young women as they leave school and take up their scholarships at university.
©2000 Jane Gardam; (P)2008 BBC Audiobooks Ltd
I was actually directed to this book and this author by a brilliant lit professor of mine. And I suppose I might recommend it as well, but then I might not. The writing itself is more than competent, quietly funny, and the characters feel very authentic. But this is not a book for someone looking to lose herself in a lively adventure, succumb to side-splitting, tear-jerking, sleeplessness, or nail-biting. It follows its own pace, and reads almost like memoir, despite being written in the 3rd person. Barrie does a good job with the narration (which seems particularly tricky in this novel) though her take on the American accent is somewhat, er... different. A sort of female John Wayne. Overall, the book is solid. Likable, but for me... not quite lovable.
"A charming book"
This is a poignant story of the lives of three girls during and just after the Second World War and largely describes what happened to each of them during the short interval between their final exams at school and when they left home a few months later to go up to University. All three girls have action-packed adventures! The individual stories explore experiences of the transition to independent adult-hood that will be familiar to listeners of any generation: what does one want to do in life; relationships with the opposite sex; the desire to, and the fear of, leaving home for the first time; and the need to separate oneself a bit from motherly love. The book is full of humour counter-balanced by sadness and regret that are the ingredients of life.
My parents went through the War so the fears and privations of the girls? lives are familiar territory and I would guess that the book would be even more evocative to those who would be contemporaries of the characters.
The pleasure of the book is greatly enhanced by June Barrie?s excellent narration and ability to perform so many different accents ranging in age, gender and social origin.
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