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A Sensible Life Unknown Binding – 1990


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Unknown Binding, 1990


Product details

  • Unknown Binding
  • Publisher: Bantam Press (1990)
  • ASIN: B0063E06WY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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There was no wind; sea flat as a plate met sky the same colour as the water. Read the first page
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 4 Jun. 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is not so much a love story as a complete look at the changing relationships between three boys (Cosmo, Hubert and Felix) and a girl (Flora) over a period of forty years. It is an intriguing book, in which Mary Wesley shows both the integrity and folly of the children, which develops into confidence as they age, but also awkwardness as they still want to treat each other like children. The times are also well reflected in the French holidays, the blitz and peacetime. If you are looking for a book that draws you into the lives of the characters, then you will probably enjoy this and also The Camomile Lawn by the same author. However, if you prefer books more orientated around a love story, try The Vacillations of Poppy Carew and (my favourite) Harnessing Peacocks also by Mary Wesley, or books by Katie Fforde.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By SusieH on 3 Jun. 2011
Format: Paperback
Flora, as a child, is ignored by her parents, and does not really fit in. She is dumped with some interesting characters, including Irena Tarasova, eccentric Russian seamstress.

In Brittany she is surrounded by older, more sophisticated families - who either do not notice her or pity her. Only Cosmo, Hubert and Felix pay her any attention, and she hero-worships them and thinks she is in love. Over the decades we see Flora develop, and relationships change. She still loves the three young men - but is this love reciprocated? A fascinating exploration of love at all ages, and relationships altering over the years

This is now probably my favourite Mary Wesley. Brilliant
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Herman Melville on 7 Sept. 2009
Format: Paperback
Like all Mary Wesley's books this just rings true somehow. She can create characters and situations that are unusual and uplifting without seeming far-fetched or sickly sweet, perhaps because there is an occasional flash of comedy or tragedy. The plot of this one is very enjoyable, I really wanted to know what would happen to all the characters and loved the style of wtiting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David Heald on 1 Nov. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I love all of Mary Wesley's novels, and this one ranks along with "The Camomile Lawn" as my favourite.
Many of her books seem to be based on her own childhood-i.e. the young girl neglected or not wanted by her parents or other close relations, who has to struggle to make a life for herself. Flora Trevelyan is no exception, from running wild at Dinard aged ten, to working on a farm post-war, with much in between.
The characters are all very finely drawn, with the usual quirky characteristics which this author depicts so well, and some of the descriptive writing, especially the beach party at Dinard in 1926, is a sheer joy to read.
And how nice that Flora finally gets the man who has waited for her for all those years.
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By Kate Hopkins TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 30 Oct. 2012
Format: Paperback
This was the first Mary Wesley book I've read all the way through (I tried 'Second Fiddle', probably a bad one to start with, and couldn't get into it due to my dislike of the main male character). For the first 100 pages or so of this one, I thought I was onto a potentially good and rather original novel. Flora Trevelyan, Wesley's heroine, is the child of thoroughly selfish parents, working in the British Colonial Service in India in the early 1930s. In the summer of her tenth year, Flora's parents take her to a hotel in Brittany to spend the summer with them before she is sent to boarding school and they return to India. In fact, they dump her with a governess and an eccentric White Russian emigree dressmaker for long periods while making trips to more exciting French towns. Flora is lonely, and begins to realize how much she dislikes her parents. But then, one day on the beach, she meets Cosmo and Hubert, two English teenagers, who befriend her. Soon Flora is introduced to family life, spending time with Cosmo, Cosmo's sister Mabs and her friend Tashie, Hubert and the Shovvers, a kindly Dutch family who all (particularly the glamorous son, Felix) are very keen to entertain and look after her. Life becomes a blissful round of excursions and gossip, culminating in an idyllic picnic. But the summer ends and Flora is left in France with her mother when the others go back to England and Holland, having fallen in love with Cosmo, Hubert and Felix.

This first part of the book was very enjoyable. There were some passages of real wit (such as the socialist Hubert's conversations with the White Russian dressmaker), and some gorgeous bits of prose, such as the description of two English men dancing the tango, which they'd learnt in Argentina, at the picnic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Twin mum on 30 Oct. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this book about 20 years ago & remembered it with affection. When I saw it was available on Kindle I wondered whether the reality would match up to the ideal. It did. Mary Wesley creates wonderful, realistic characters in a great page turner. Loved it.
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