Customer Reviews


6 Reviews
5 star:
 (2)
4 star:
 (2)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The perils of being servantless
This entertaining novel is set in Edinburgh during WWII. I don't think I've read another novel set in Scotland during this time. I hadn't realised they were under threat of bombing as London and other parts of England were. Rose Fairlaw is a middle-class woman who realises she can no longer find servants (the first chapter set in an employment agency is very funny). She...
Published on 13 Oct 2007 by Lynette Baines

versus
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Yes, there are bad Persephones!
And this is as bad as it gets, a real dog's dinner of a book! Can only imagine that Winifred Peck was the kind pf person who thinks 'everyone has a book in them' - and this was hers! Actually, she wrote many more; let's hope they weren't all as dire as this one.
Where to start? It would have helped, as another reviewer points out, if Lady Peck had decided what she...
Published on 15 Sep 2009 by booksetc


Most Helpful First | Newest First

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The perils of being servantless, 13 Oct 2007
By 
Lynette Baines (Melbourne, Australia) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: House-Bound (Paperback)
This entertaining novel is set in Edinburgh during WWII. I don't think I've read another novel set in Scotland during this time. I hadn't realised they were under threat of bombing as London and other parts of England were. Rose Fairlaw is a middle-class woman who realises she can no longer find servants (the first chapter set in an employment agency is very funny). She deicdes she will do all her own housework, which was a much more serious undertaking then than it would be now. Apart from the physical drudgery, there were the social implications. I enjoyed the domestic details very much, and I thought the satire on middle-class domesticity trying to cope without servants was wonderful. Mrs Childe, the daily help who consents to pop in for two hours a day, was just perfect and her efforts to train Rose were very funny. Grannie Don't Chah See (a relation of Rose's friend, Linda) was priceless. The wartime setting was also very well-done. Rose and Stuart's marriage was really one of convenience, and this was another intersting aspect of the book. Rose's first husband was killed in WWI and Stuart's first wife died shortly after. They marry to provide a family for her daughter, Flora and his son, Mickie. They have a son, Tom, together. The problems of living without servants may seem quaint today but the dilemmas of the blended family are just as relevant now as in the 40s. The mother-daughter relationship of Rose and Flora was very realistic. Flora's feelings of abandonment because of her mother's love for Mickie, were very understandable, even though she never grew out of those feelings of self-pity and her sense of herself as an outsider. Psychologically it rang true to me. I could feel Rose's misery that all her efforts to love her daughter just weren't enough. Flora reminded me of Alex in E M Delafield's Consequences, although luckily for Flora, her fate isn't as grim. The friendship of Rose and Linda was also very touching, especially the conversation they have about Linda's son, Geordie's, death. I did have trouble with the tone of the book at times. I felt Peck couldn't decide what kind of novel she was writing.
Was it a satire? was it a family drama? was it a comedy? However, I read this in one long Sunday afternoon session, as I do with most Persephone novels. They really are the most addictively readable books.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Yes, there are bad Persephones!, 15 Sep 2009
By 
This review is from: House-Bound (Paperback)
And this is as bad as it gets, a real dog's dinner of a book! Can only imagine that Winifred Peck was the kind pf person who thinks 'everyone has a book in them' - and this was hers! Actually, she wrote many more; let's hope they weren't all as dire as this one.
Where to start? It would have helped, as another reviewer points out, if Lady Peck had decided what she was writing about. Rose is a middle-class Edinburgh wife in a sexless marriage (but then she describes herself as 'elderly' at 50) forced to confront the wartime reality of having no servants. That might have worked fine as a theme for a novel - but Lady P gets terribly carried away by Rose's seriously dysfunctional family. (Sibling rivalries, attempted suicide, psychiatric disorders, it's all there in a terrible pot-pourri that would keep an agony aunt going for a year.) Then she throws in a heavy dose of uplifting religion of the Patience Strong/Hallmark cards variety. And, strangest of all, is the completely unconvincing, utterly bizarre character - is he meant to be funny? I wasn't sure - of an American army major, a trained shrink who turns up at times of crisis like a male Mary Poppins to make soup, offer unsolicited psychiatric advice, rescue and finally marry the suicidal daughter of the house, do the washing-up ... oh, that little American major can turn his hand to anything. 'Well, I know you'll think this an absurd thing for a commonplace plain man to tell you, but it's a fact that from that moment I felt that ordinary love was over for me, and that I'd vow myself to the service of unhappy women.'
There were times when I guffawed, this book is so bad - that was one of them - but mostly it was just boring. One Fine Day by Mollie Panter-Downes is a lovely novel by an infinitely better writer about a middleclass woman facing up to life without servants ... and if you're fascinated by housework you could always read Persephone's How to Run Your Home Without Help. Winifred Peck is only fit for lighting the fire with! But go carefully with firelighters - they're probably rationed.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Without Servants in Wartime, 19 Aug 2007
By 
This review is from: House-Bound (Paperback)
It would be interesting to read this book alongside the newly published Virginia Woolf and the Servants by Alison Light: it is about a woman who does her own housework during the war - because she cannot find a servant - and in this respect looks forward to the second half of the twentieth century rather than back to the first. Nor is Rose, the heroine, resentful because she does her own cooking and cleaning, in fact she feels as though she is doing something rather new and original, which (for a woman of her type) she was. Yet she discovers she is surprisingly exhausted; and also she accepts the stupidity of many of the domestic conventions she used to make such efforts to perpetuate. The novel is funny even though the tragedies of the war are ever-present; and there is the unusual theme of Rose's daughter being angry and miserable and how they both deal with it. Although this book is not brillliantly written I could see why Penelope Fitzgerald loved it. (Other books with which it can be compared are The Diary of a Provincial Lady by EM Delafield and One Fine Day by Mollie Panter-Downes; the first is about a woman who, like Virginia Woolf, cannot imagine doing her own housework and the second is about another woman who has to adjust, post-war, to not having servants any more.)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Who is it for?, 14 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: House-Bound (Paperback)
This book deals with the life of a ( long ago) widowed and remarried upper class woman in WW2 Edinburgh. It is centred on her efforts to run her home when there is an acute shortage of domestic servants and describes a world I had never imagined existed.

I am very glad I read it but after a while I had an uncomfortable sense that I did not know for whom Winifred Peck was writing. It is unbearably poignant when it touches on her anxiety for her children and her difficult relationship with her daughter and husband but it becomes rather soap-y and trite as it goes on . It is also quite spiritual ( her father was a bishop) and involved with her relationship with God. It is a truly weird book and needs to be experienced rather than talked about. After all this I still don't know who she thought she was trying to reach!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2.0 out of 5 stars All Over The Place, 3 Oct 2012
By 
Nancy Marlowe (London, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: House-Bound (Paperback)
Normally I adore Persephone novels, there are so many forgotten classics out there, but this one was the first one I abandoned halfway through. As pointed out by other reviewers, the author couldn't seem to decide what sort of a novel she was writing, or indeed what her theme was. I bought it because I was intrigued by the idea of the main character trying to run her home without servants, which would have been a great read. It started off with this theme, and was very enjoyable, and then suddenly took an abrupt turn and became some sort of guide to psycho analysis, then all very worthy and depressing and I lost patience and decided not to finish (though I skimmed to the end, just to ensure it didn't improve!). Even the author seemed to have realised she'd strayed from her original theme as every so often she seemed at pains to suggest there were all sorts of conditions which could be called 'housebound', including being housebound in your soul (eh?!) - if you feel you need to start making tenuous links to your novel's original title you've definitely lost your way! Such a shame, one to take to my local Oxfam Bookshop I think. Very glad to hear One Fine Day (which I've also purchased) is better and more what it sets out to be.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars A vintage classic, 15 Mar 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: House-Bound (Paperback)
'Housebound' affords the reader a fascinating glimpse into the life of a middle class houswife in the nineteen-forties. We share the consternation of the main character Rose Fairlaw at having to cope alone in her large old-fashioned house when her servants leave to do war work. Labour saving gadgets had not been invented, and husbands did not dream of lending a hand! In addition, she and her best friend Linda have to cope with the strain of their adult sons joining the forces. More universal is the portrayal of relationships within families, and we see Rose struggle with the fact that she loves her charming stepson more than her own difficult daughter. Although a period piece, Peck's novel still grips the modern reader.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First
ARRAY(0xaa1a2210)

This product

House-Bound
House-Bound by Winifred Peck (Paperback - 19 April 2007)
12.60
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews