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Virago Omnibus: Weather in the Streets; Frost in May; All Passion Spent [Hardcover]

Rosamond Lehmann , Antonia White , Vita Sackville-West
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Book Description

24 Dec 1994

Taking up where AN INVITATION TO THE WALTZ left off, THE WEATHER IN THE STREETS shows us Olivia Curtis ten years older, a failed marriage behind her, thinner, sadder, and apprently not much wiser. A chance encounter on a train with a man who enchanted her as a teenager leads to a forbidden love affair and a new world of secret meetings, brief phone calls and snatched liaisons in anonymous hotel rooms.

Years ahead of its time when first published, this subtle and powerful novel shocked even the most stalwart Lehmann fans with its searing honesty and passionate portrayal of clandestine love.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 779 pages
  • Publisher: Virago; Reprint edition (24 Dec 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1860492207
  • ISBN-13: 978-1860492204
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 16.2 x 5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 645,263 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


...the first writer to filter her stories through a woman's feelings & perceptions Anita Brookner She is immensely readable, acute, passionate, funny and original Elizabeth Jane Howard --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description


* a novel of searing honesty and a passionate portrayal of forbidden love

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
We all know that They Never Leave Their Wives, and we know from the beginning that this book is unlikely to end happily for Olivia, its charming heroine. She's a nice middle-class girl, trying to live the bohemian life on no money in 1930s London; Rollo, her lover, is the heir to a baronetcy, rich, handsome, successful- and married. She's on a losing wicket from the start, but she can't resist him; soon she's staying in on the offchance he might call round and lying to her friends and family in the time-honoured manner. The reader is subtly shown that there are two truths here: on the one hand there is a genuine love story- Olivia and Rollo really love each other- but on the other, this is the account of Olivia's desperate struggle for the status, wealth and social acceptance she would get as the recognised partner of an alpha male like Rollo. The materialistic aspects of the affair are described in luscious detail- the emerald ring, the weekend trips in expensive cars, the extravagant lunches and lavish gifts of books and flowers- as are the glimpses of Rollo's wealthy lifestyle that make Olivia covet the position of his wife. To conclude: this is both a touching love story and a cynical account of the relations between men and women, all in Rosamond Lehmann's crisp, poetic, humorous prose.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A novel of tenderness 5 April 2006
By A Customer
Lehmann's novel seems to, with her lilting lovely prose, to describe the tragedy that love can be. In her unique style she describes Olivia's inner life in a way you wish you could describe your own. The beauty and lyricism with which she crystallises the pain that her heroine feels, and the lack of cliche when analysing an almost unavoidably cliched subject make this a truly beautiful novel. Or as someone else put it "a novel of tenderness".
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you are 'The other woman' prepare to weep! 13 Aug 2011
I love this book so much my paperback copy has loose pages.
On other web sites I have seen this book describes as 'dated' I can see where younger reviewers might be coming from, it was first published in 1936, certainly before I was born, and the customs and manners are almost as alien as those in the world of Jane Austen. The emotions aroused however, in the very heart of the heroine, Olivia, are timeless, not for nothing did readers continue to write to the author right up to her death saying' Oh Miss Lehmann you have written my story.'
The novel is a sequel to 'Invitation to The waltz' a slighter book but none the less important and as essential read if you are going to get the best of this one.

'Invitation' leaves Olivia gauche, naive and in the wrong dress, at an elegant ball where she finds a chance to be alone with the dashing, wealthy, upper class Rollo. This book picks up some years later with a meeting of the couple on a train to find a thinner, better dressed more world weary woman. Rollo is much the same. One of the themes permeating Lehmann's work, is that of the outsider looking in, this reflects her own real life experience starting when she was let down by a young man at Cambridge and continuing all her life where she seemed to feel she was not quite worthy of entry into the top drawer. This class theme is one of the areas that may seem to 'date' the book but in other ways it is strikingly modern. The abortion scene for instance, is as up to date as it gets, in terms of conflicting emotions and fear and was a scandal at the time.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A sad look at the lies people tell themselves 26 Nov 2006
By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As another reviewer here has mentioned, we know from the start that there can be no happy ending to this story, and the fact that we already know the journey that the characters are to take, works brilliantly. Lehmann plays with the well-worn cliches of an affair between an independant-minded woman and her married lover, yet avoids writing in terms of cliches herself.

This is a haunting, beautifully-written and sensitive study of how we make choices that we know are wrong for us, and the inevitable disappointment that we are shoring up. And yet somehow this is a hopeful book too, with touches of comedy that lighten the atmosphere. Overall a sad book, that ought - but won't! - teach us something.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Major Work - Read It!!! 6 Jun 2012
By Christopher H TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This novel should surely be up there in the British modernist canon alongside the works of Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, D.H. Lawrence and Jean Rhys. I'd even argue nothing else from Britain's 1930s is its equal.

The crits here mostly are impressed by the story, although I was taken as much with Lehmann's prose style. She had developed another way of using words to record the central character's passing thoughts: not really stream-of-consciousness, yet in some respects more grounded and convincing than Joyce's rhetorical brilliance or Woolf's internal conversations. There is an emotional complexity and utter plausibility to those thoughts.

The novel is organised into four parts, each seemingly alluding to a seasonal motif. The first takes place over two early spring days, introduces us to Olivia, and sees her future lover break the ice. The second stretches over glowing summer months, sketching in a sometimes hazy, sometimes crystal clear manner, their love affair. The third is a case of drab and cheerless autumnal weeks, when Olivia is marooned on her own and realises the affair's end is approaching. The last cold section, which starts in autumn and runs into winter, sees it finish and Olivia start to pick up the shattered pieces of her life.

A question worth pondering as you read. What is the point of the parallel between Olivia falling sick and being cared for by Ivor (her ex-husband), and at the same time Simon falling ill and being cared for by Anna (his ex-wife)?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Very much written in better times
A beautifully written book, some of the people I recognise, others not my sort. But on the whole it is a lovely story to read
Published 13 months ago by Mrs. D. Drennan
2.0 out of 5 stars Out of touch
Irritated by the main characters - even the chap's name, Rollo. 'Heroine' so poor that she has to clean out the lining of her handbag all by herself! Read more
Published 13 months ago by tapper
4.0 out of 5 stars Evokes a period perfectly
Beautifully written, this book brings this period , between the wars, to life perfectly in its attention to detail and language.
A very good read.
Published 13 months ago by marie kingsley
5.0 out of 5 stars a special novel
This is one of those novels, so few, which grabs you early on and doesn't let you go. The story stayed with me for days and I have reread it several times over the years. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Paula Diggle
2.0 out of 5 stars Dated
I abandoned this after 40 or so pages, I'm afraid. It felt very dated and simply didn't hold my interest.
Published on 3 Oct 2011 by JoTownhead
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Bridget Jones!
When I received this book I was immediately put off by the cover saying it is the Bridget Jones of its day. Yuck! I nearly just dumped it. Read more
Published on 30 April 2010 by Dostoyevsky
5.0 out of 5 stars Olivia's below the surface commentary
First published in 1936 this book is extraordinarily modern, given that it encompasses the social and private life of a member of the distinctly upper middle classes, who might... Read more
Published on 14 Sep 2009 by Eileen Shaw
4.0 out of 5 stars Hauntingly sad
I loved the depth of feeling in this book, although it was based over 60 years ago is a fresh and entertaining book to read with a deep message to anyone about to embark on an... Read more
Published on 21 July 2009 by Mrs. Bridget A. Steele
4.0 out of 5 stars Whether to weather
Definitely yes. This is a fascinating book describing a life and mores that reveal the times more exactly than i have yet read. Read more
Published on 1 July 2009 by Ms. R. Medlam
5.0 out of 5 stars A good but sad read
This novel is the story of Olivia, from Invitation to the Waltz, all grown up. Sadly the loveable, optimistic, naive 17 year old is now, in her 30's, a newly separated,... Read more
Published on 13 Oct 2008 by A. Baker
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