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4.0 out of 5 starsPure Delight
Reviewed in the United States on August 3, 2020
The richly drawn characters dance through the pages of this delightful post-WWII story set in small town England during the summer before three friends start college. Each young woman’s experience could stand alone but under Gardman’s astute orchestration three distinct adventures develop providing a symphony of pleasure. Highly recommended.
I loved this book, which I have read twice, because of the way it allowed me to imagine lives lived in circumstances that are unimaginable. Are now. And, as the characters show, were then. It begins as the end of World War 11 amongst bomb damage and deprivation. Two of the Yorkshire 'maidens' had fathers shattered by their experiences in the trenches of World War One --(one a suicide, the other almost completely withdrawn). The third, a German Jew brought to England as a little girl in the kindertransports has lost her parents in every way. In this book they find a way forward without denying the past. The author is old enough to have lived through this period. Through 'the truth of imagination' --wonderful writing-she brings it to life to those of us who haven't. (It's also funny).
A wonderful story that reprises themes from Jane Gardam's earlier books and foreshadows her later works, in particular 'Old Filth' and 'The Man in the Wooden Hat'. The beginning is a little slow moving, but by half way she is well into her stride as a witty, moving and accomplished writer. This is definitely a book worth reading.
4.0 out of 5 starsEnjoyed the look at life after the war
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 13, 2019
An enjoyable read while I was on holiday in Paris. I really enjoyed the snapshot into the lives of three young women after the war. The book takes place in England the last summer before they go to university. The novel has themes of friendship, identity, loss, and hope, Beautiful!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 15, 2019
This is the third Jane Gardam book I've read and didn't enjoy it as much as Queen of the Tambourine and Bilgewater. It didn't feel too well plotted or have much depth to it. The word "fuchsia" was spelt incorrect about 50 percent of the time.