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40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cynicism and romance clash in this account of an affair
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...
Published on 3 Oct 2001

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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
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! Proves herself very domesticated - puts on the kettle, and very bohemian - buys sausages to cook. This novel is set in England in the thirties. Do I have to remind you of the state of the general population - mass...
Published 15 months ago by tapper


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40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cynicism and romance clash in this account of an affair, 3 Oct 2001
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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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 (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Weather In The Streets (VMC) (Paperback)
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 Olivia's below the surface commentary, 14 Sep 2009
By 
Eileen Shaw "Kokoschka's_cat" (Leeds, England) - See all my reviews
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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 expect to live a rarified and protected life in that distant time between the wars.

Olivia is separated from her husband, a young man without much talent who seems to hover on the edge of the narrative. On a visit home to see her mother and her happily married sister and to enquire into the health of her father, she meets Rollo, the son of aristocratic neighbours to whom she is attached by friendship with Marigold, Rollo's sister as a child and adolescent. Rollo and Olivia strike up a charged sort of relationship on the train to their destination and this continues as she is invited to a dinner party at the aristocrats family home - a large estate with battlements, no less.

The affair with Rollo develops as Olivia returns to her life in London as an assistant to an arty photographer, Anna. Olivia is lodging in the home of a moneyed friend, Etta, and though she and Rollo meet there once or twice, there are obvious dangers that they might be discovered. Rollo is married to the beautiful Nicola, and there are problems with the marriage, as Rollo explains: Nicola is cold, and they no longer sleep together.

The plot takes a rather hackneyed turn by today's standards, when Olivia becomes pregnant. But what might be thought of as hackneyed today, was ground-breaking in 1936 when such things were a matter of shameful scandal.

Naturally one has to see the novel in the context pertaining to its time. Initially I felt there was a surfeit of dialogue, much of it to no great point. However, as I read on, I began to understand its necessity. Lehmann's writing is sharply perceptive; the dialogue is accompanied everywhere by what Olivia is really thinking and it is in this secondary element that the novel comes alive. The habit of saying something acquiescent while thinking about what one would like to say exposes the triteness and limits of understanding that characterise the communication between groups and between even those who believe they are saying what they mean. The dialogue accompaniment encompasses a below-the-surface commentary, exposing Olivia's consciousness. We really only see things from Olivia's point of view, but there is no loss in this limitation, as she is the foil for so many of her circle. She has a wide variety of rather arty friends, and she is an honest, if indulgent, chronicler of their adventures. The result of these writing skills gives enjoyment and pleasure, and an acute insight into the huge social and political disparity between then and now.
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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
This review is from: The Weather In The Streets (VMC) (Paperback)
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. As for Olivia, continually pained by only having a piece of Rollo, any woman who has sat bitterly alone at home while her lover disports himself with his wife will identify with Olivia, let alone the time when she is alone and racked with morning sickness. The ending is ambiguous and the reader is able to put his or her own interpretation on the couple's future,

It is not quite perfect. Olivia's bohemian set of friends are too numerous and therefore less well developed and are overwhelmed by the strength of characterisation of Olivia, Rollo, his sister and fearsome mother. Nevertheless it is a very fine novel equal to anything else in this fertile period of writing.

If you love this book as much as I do may I recommend the biography of the author by Selina Hastings? Rosamund Lehmann's private life was just as riveting as any novel of that time and the biography is so well written it is as easy to read and enjoy as a piece of wonderful fiction.
Finally, though I hesitate very much in being sexist, I feel this IS a woman's book, not to say that men will not enjoy it but for me as a woman it holds a special resonance
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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 (Keilor, Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Weather In The Streets (VMC) (Paperback)
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hauntingly sad, 21 July 2009
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This review is from: The Weather In The Streets (VMC) (Paperback)
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 affair. I really felt for Olivia and her increasing desperateness in this affair. I am excited to have found Rosamond Lehmann and look forward to reading more of her books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a special novel, 29 Jun 2013
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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. In a sense it's a classic tale about an affair with a married man but somehow it's more than that.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Whether to weather, 1 July 2009
By 
Ms. R. Medlam "Rose" (Surbiton) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Weather In The Streets (VMC) (Paperback)
Definitely yes. This is a fascinating book describing a life and mores that reveal the times more exactly than i have yet read. Despite the intro it did not feel remotely like Bridget Jones - no comparison. This is great prose and a tricky subject.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A good but sad read, 13 Oct 2008
This review is from: The Weather In The Streets (VMC) (Paperback)
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, unsuccessful artist, living a bohemian life in London. She drifts into an affair, and we know (as does she) that it is never going to end well. This is a fantastically well written book, that I highly recommend.
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The Weather In The Streets (VMC)
The Weather In The Streets (VMC) by Rosamond Lehmann (Paperback - 2 Mar 2006)
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