9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
A thoughtful and absorbing novel, 1 Aug. 2007
This novel describes the fate of a girl brought up at the turn of the last century, a girl brought up with the assumption that she would make a 'good' marriage and find her fulfilment as a wife and mother. The heroine, Alex, fails to make such a marriage, and E M Delafield explores with devastating insight the 'consequences' for her of that failure. On one hand, the novel is a deeply-felt examination of Alex's predicament, her thoughts and feelings; on the other hand, Delafield takes her story as the starting point for a strong critique of the Victorian family. In 'Consequences' Delafield explores the predicament of those Victorian women forced to endure the 'marriage market'. It is a very different novel from her 'Diary of a Provincial Lady' and yet it deals, ultimately, with the same issues. The provincial lady is a wife and mother - she would seem to have succeeded in the marriage market where Alex has failed - and yet Delafield shows us that the two characters are not so far apart as might be imagined. Both are asked to conform to the rules and rituals governing women's behaviour at the time; the provincial lady capitulates to great comic effect, putting up with a husband who merely grunts behind his newspaper and the tedium of running a large and busy home. Alex would seem to have escaped that, and yet her fate is even worse. This is not a particularly cheerful novel, but then, it's not supposed to be. What it is, is a poignant and thoughtful examination of a young girl's decisions and desperation, and this is why it is well worth reading.