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Mariana Paperback – 30 Sep 1976


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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (30 Sept. 1976)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140007814
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140007817
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 2.5 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,697,439 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Roberts on 17 Sept. 2006
Format: Paperback
I picked this up just after reading Monica Dickens' autobiography, An Open Book, in which Dickens explains how much she drew from her own life when writing Mariana (her second book). With this personal experience to guide her, she paints a lovely, unvarnished portrait of a girl's growing up in London between the wars. She touches on issues that nearly every female can relate to: the excitement and pain of a first love; the joys and struggles of making friends; the often difficult task of fitting in at school; and the search for excitement and purpose in life. In refreshingly unpretentious prose and in a deceptively simple style, Dickens, like her great-grandfather Charles, gets to the heart of basic human emotions and dramas. It's a book to take to bed on a cold night or to read while on holiday: fun, honest, and heartwarming - another Persephone delight.
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Lynette Baines VINE VOICE on 26 Feb. 2001
Format: Paperback
Mariana is the story of a young girl's life in the 1930's. Told in flashback, it opens with Mary waiting anxiously for news of her young husband who has been reported missing during WWII. Then, we turn back to Mary's childhood and adolescence, a time of school, wonderful summer holidays, first love, a disastrous attempt at drama school, love affairs with the wrong men, and finally, the meeting with the right man which will lead us back to the present. Monica Dickens wrote this novel when she was only 24, and it's perspective is that of a lively young woman who has no idea what to do with her life. It's written with great humour (the episode when Mary recites Tennyson's "Mariana" at drama school is very funny) and the details of life in the 30's are an added attraction to modern readers. The tone of light romance deepens as we move closer to the end of the novel, and remember the opening scenes of Mary waiting for news of her husband. The final scenes are beautifully written and very moving.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By G. Dutton on 3 July 2008
Format: Paperback
Mariana is a story that takes the reader through a girl's life - from child to young woman. It's point of view is flawless, changing and developing with the character as she moves from a naieve and unsure girl to an individual who is happy with the role of being herself; who comes to realise that whatever happened 'all one could do was to get on with the job that nobody else could do, the job of being oneself'. But it isn't just a 'coming of age' novel. It is beautifully descriptive - taking us back to the 1930s and giving a glimpse of a world that seems so different, where girls did wait for a husband to turn up, and could be saved financially by making a good marriage, and when London, Paris, the world, somehow seems more exotic, more finely presented, and more innocent, but none of it is portrayed in a saccharine way. The novel starts with Mary, the main character, waiting for news of her husband who is away from her, as a naval officer in WW2, and then flashes back to her youth. As you approach the end of the book you can't help remembering the start of the novel and hoping, very much, that the news of the man - who she feels is as close to her as to almost be a part of her - will not be bad.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By F. Davidson on 31 July 2007
Format: Paperback
I found 'Mariana' surprisingly gripping and was hooked from start to finish. Whilst awaiting news of her husband during the Second World War, Mary looks over her life's experiences and the resulting novel has moments of real humour and poignancy. Whilst the novel is bursting with likeable and realistic characters, Mary is undoubtedly the star and is both lovable and wonderfully fallible. She is a character I could easily identify with and I finished the novel feeling as if I really knew her! She recounts her teenage years and early adulthood with honesty and a lack of pretension, which is characteristic of the novel as a whole. Dealing with romance, friendship and growing up, Mariana has similarities to 'The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets' by Eva Rice but I felt it was an even more interesting and satisfying read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K. Kerby on 18 Dec. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a simply written book about a simple girl living with her mother in London as the second WWII begins. It is amazing, though, how such a simple story can be so beautiful and compelling until by the end of the book you are totally wrapped up with it. Also if you are unfamiliar with the publishers, then please visit their website and enjoy all the wonderful books they offer, all female writers written in the 30s, 40s and 50s. This book is a gem, please buy it now.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 1 Mar. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The writer makes you feel great sympathy for the central character - and some of the minor ones -a lovely ending
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By old joanna on 26 May 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a story about a young woman growing up and coming of age in the 1920' and 30's. She has a fairly privileged background, spending the holidays out of London at her grandparents house in Somerset with her many cousins and relations. Funny, and poignant, it is very much of it's time.
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By JoJac on 31 Jan. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
This is a perfect coming of age novel. It is beautifully written, evocative and poetic with a freshness that is surprising given its timing. This edition is also a joy to behold as its stark contemporary cover design contrasts with very attractive end papers. I received it as a gift and now treasure it.
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