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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Persephone's 99th book and it is a winner
We all know what it is like to come across a book which beguiles us, leaves us unable to put it down and have a lovely satisfied feeling when it is over. It has happened to me many times, but I have had this experience on more occasions with Persephone books than any other and it has happened again with this delightful book.

Patience is a Catholic and,...
Published 21 months ago by Elaine Simpson-long

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars lacking in texture
It is very rarely that I don't like a Persephone book, and I didn't actively dislike this one - I kept turning the pages, after all. And it was heart-warming, and unexpected in parts, and laugh-out-loud funny in others. But it had no texture and therefore, for me, no reality. Persephone books are usually securely and strongly grounded in the real, and replete with...
Published 20 months ago by CC


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Persephone's 99th book and it is a winner, 29 Oct 2012
By 
Elaine Simpson-long (Colchester, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Patience (Paperback)
We all know what it is like to come across a book which beguiles us, leaves us unable to put it down and have a lovely satisfied feeling when it is over. It has happened to me many times, but I have had this experience on more occasions with Persephone books than any other and it has happened again with this delightful book.

Patience is a Catholic and, therefore, Sin looms large in her life. As a Catholic myself, though not a very good one, and an ex-Convent schoolgirl, I am all too familiar with Sin. The nuns at my school were very hot Patienceon this subject I can tell you now and it made for some muddled thinking so I can fully sympathise with Patience's dilemma. The book starts with her brother, Lionel, who seems even more down on Sin, comes to visit her and informs her that her husband Edward is being unfaithful to her and she should confront him about it. She is reluctant to do so and it seems as if Lionel feels she may be to blame "A wife has a duty in these matters...she has to preserve the marriage. If by refusing to submit to her husband she drives him out of the house for satisfaction elsewhere, she must accept some responsibility for the Sin"......'I know' said Patience feeling there were very few people who could teach her about submission"

Edward is a husband who likes his life nice and orderly, comes home expecting his dinner, calls Patience 'old girl' and slaps her on the bottom. He is quite fond of their three daughters but would rather like a son and, in the eyes of the world, would be regarded as a good husband. Considering that she was told by her mother that married people 'got into bed together for one primary purpose - to have a baby' she finds herself more puzzled than upset over Edward's infidelity 'extraordinary was the mere fact that a woman should love Edward like that, so that she slept with him when she wasn't married to him and consequently needn't".

By this stage I was giggling away on the sofa and agreeing with Maureen Lipman, who wrote the preface, and called this book 'delicious'. It certainly is and it goes on and on becoming more and more delicious. At a dinner party given by her sister, Helen, who had left her husband and therefore, in Lionel's eyes was steeped in Sin, Patience meets Philip and by the end of the evening they are madly in love, she goes to bed with him and decides to divorce Edward and marry him. Philip seems more than happy with this despite the fact she has three children and has discovered that she is expecting a fourth. The pair of them are delightfully dotty and touching and it is this newly discovered love and her sexual awakening that makes Patience determined change her life.

"The six and a half years had been with Edward doing her duty and so it hadn't been very nice and the last half hour had been spent with Philip in a state of Sin, and had consequently exceeded anything she could have possibly imagined about the pleasurableness of the sins of the flesh"

The newly determined Patience waits until Edward is asleep and steals the keys to his desk and unearths not only evidence of his current mistress, but letters showing that this is nothing new. She also discovers that his first wife is still alive - Edward told her he was a widower when they married. It transpires this was an honest mistake on Edward's part, his wife had left him and gone to the USA and was reported dead. Edward had divorced her so there was no legal bar to him marrying Patience and then she turns up alive and kicking. Patience worries about this - surely if Edward married her when Betsy was alive, though he thought she was dead, he was not a widower, he was only divorced and the Catholic Church did not recognise divorcees and in the eyes of the church she was not married to Edward at all, their children were bastards and she was living in Sin and should leave him immediately......... 'phew'

Oh dear poor Patience, now that she has found her love, knows what sex is all about and wants lots more of it, she sets about getting shot of Edward and does it in a thoroughly devious way. She has pangs of conscience, yes, but she has got the bit well and truly between her teeth and nothing is going to stop her now.

I am not going to give any further details away as I so want you to get hold of this book and read it for yourselves. Sheer delight from start to finish, witty, amusing, touching and sad, I read it straight through in one sitting. I pay this book the compliment of saying that I was very sad when I had finished Patience, and P books that feeling of discovering something wonderful and new was gone left me feeling a bit lost. However, I am pretty certain I will read it again and again as its subtle style of writing and humour will benefit from another look.

Absolutely staggering that this book is written by a man, so spot on is he on the the feminine thought process and attitudes. I repeat what I have already mentioned above, Maureen Lipman calls this book 'delicious' and evnies those of us who have yet to read this book. She tells us to 'savour it' and I did - every single word of it.

And be prepared for a most matter of fact statement of an ending that took me totally by surprise.

Wonderful.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars lacking in texture, 26 Nov 2012
This review is from: Patience (Paperback)
It is very rarely that I don't like a Persephone book, and I didn't actively dislike this one - I kept turning the pages, after all. And it was heart-warming, and unexpected in parts, and laugh-out-loud funny in others. But it had no texture and therefore, for me, no reality. Persephone books are usually securely and strongly grounded in the real, and replete with descriptions of the physical world inhabited by the characters. This wasn't, and I felt Patience was a shadowy creature. Like the previous reviewer, I didn't understand how her character developed, it wasn't real to me.

I was also rather irritated by the fact that she had not one, but two domestic employees. I felt a bit like when my mother (b.1926) when she saw Brief Encounter and could only take from it an incredulous indignation that a housewife had a full day off a week to go to town and the cinema.

A grand little book that passed the time, but forgettable and not read-again-able, at least not by this reader.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Flawed Gem, 18 Oct 2012
This review is from: Patience (Paperback)
I was intrigued by this book. The summer before last, when I heard Nicola Beauman speak at my library, she mentioned that she was delighted she had found a comedy that would bring something new, something that she felt was missing from the Persephone list. It was too early for her to share any of the details, but I'm quite sure that this is it.

It's the story of 28 year-old Patience Gathorne-Galley. She's a good Catholic girl, independently wealthy with a husband, Edward, and three little girls, Star, Sue and Sal.

But Patience is an innocent, hopelessly naive.

She relies on her siblings for advice. Lionel is a good devout Catholic, whose wife's desertion hasn't shaken his faith one iota. Helen, on the other hand, is a lapsed Catholic, living in sin with an Anglican solicitor.

Ah yes, SIN. That word is writ large in all their lives. Lionel takes the avoidance of sin terribly seriously. Helen is rather more sanguine, but she hasn't completely lost the values she was raised with. And Patience knew that it was a very bad thing that she really should avoid.

She really was that naive, a young woman passed directly from her parents to her husband with no chance at all to look at the world around her.

She was surprised when Lionel told her that Edward had a mistress. He was a good, reliable husband, and why ever would a woman want to go to bed with a man when it wasn't her marital duty?

Yes, there was a story waiting to happen here. And happen it did.

Patience met a man. Phillip. She fell in love. And in lust.

"She understood in a sort of flash of revelation almost everything Lionel had ever told her. It really was different getting into bed with someone who wasn't your husband. And no wonder Lionel was so anxious no one should begin, because once having begun, and knowing how lovely it was, one would find it very difficult to stop."

When she confided in Helen her sister assured her that it wasn't just the fact that Phillip wasn't her husband that made the difference. And then Patience knew that her future had to be spent with Phillip and her babies. But however could she disentangle herself from Edward and not fall into sin?

Patience's attempts to do that, to reach her happy ending, make this a charming comedy of manners It sails along beautifully, with lovely dialogue batted back and forth by beautifully drawn characters.

I could see them and I could hear their voices. I could imagine actors on a stage having wonderful fun with this material too.

John Coates captures the feminine psyche extraordinarily well. I am inclined to believe that he was brought up with sisters, and that maybe he had a colourful aunt or two. But that's just speculation, so let's just say he understands women.

He writes beautifully too, with a light touch, with a lovely turn of phrase, and with just the right amount of wit.

I found that I could even forgive Patience's habit of addressing everyone as `dear!'

Patience's faith, and the problems created by the differences between church and secular law, provided a serious thread that counterbalanced the comedy and the romance quite beautifully.

There were some very nice twists and turns along the way. Moments of comedy and moments of joy deftly handled. I turned the pages quickly and stayed up rather later than I had planned because I so wanted to know what was going to happen.

And yet my feelings were mixed. There were times when I found Patience irksome. It is one thing to be a simple soul, but even the simplest souls have some awareness, some concern for the feelings of others. But Patience didn't. she was utterly oblivious, thinking only of what she wanted.

It was wonderful that her discovery of love and passion swept away everything, save her maternal love, but I found it hard to believe that any grown woman could be quite so insensitive to other people's feelings.

Maybe that says more about me than the book. I've often been told that I'm too serious, and that I over-think things.

But I'm afraid that near the end, when Patience said that she had grown up and all that it meant that she was more forceful in getting her own way I was bitterly disappointed.

I just needed some little acknowledgement that she might have been thoughtless, or some little sign that she had sympathy or understanding for others. But it never came. And an afterword revealed that Patience never really grew up at all.

Seeing love conquer all was delightful, and the way that the story played out was a joy.

But, to me, this looks like a flawed gem. I saw the beauty and the flaws, but I suspect some will see only the beauty and others will see only the flaws.

I'd like to read it again soon, because I don't rule out feeling differently on a different day, and I'm going to be very, very curious to find out how other readers react when they meet Patience.
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Patience
Patience by Maureen Lipman (Paperback - 18 Oct 2012)
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