Top positive review
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Strange and fascinating first novel
on 10 November 2001
This is yet another coming-of-age novel, but don't let that put you off- the treatment is never less than original. A structural twist is added by the fact that the novel begins and ends with the heroine spending Christmas at the house of the same family- four years of the first world war have intervened, changing her radically. The themes of the novel include love, marriage, madness, war, boredom, female emancipation, families and class. Elizabeth Jane Howard blends loving physical detail with an atmosphere which is at times compellingly sinister and at others weirdly beautiful or cosily reassuring. It's fascinating to read this if you've read EJH's later novels- the complete ease and relaxed wittiness aren't quite there (although the novel is often very funny) but the talent is palpable.