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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars jane eyre revisited
Elizabeth Taylor should be better known. This novel is so clever. It is a pastiche that, while making reference to several other novels, is still a evocative, insightful and entertaining read in itself. Think of a novel that blends aspects of Jane Eyre for the plot, the real life of Branwell Bronte, a dead first wife cast in the mould of Rebecca de Winter, touches of Cold...
Published on 7 July 2009 by Nina-Jo Rees

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3.0 out of 5 stars Alright for some
Not the finest of Taylor's books. The conceit is extremely formulaic and rather humourless. Drawing on gothic literature and Austen scenarios, the classically named Cassandra Eason arrives at her employer's stately home with a view to definitely falling in love with him Even the name Marion does not deter her from being enamoured of the foppish bibliophile with the sex...
Published 15 months ago by PenFriend


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars jane eyre revisited, 7 July 2009
Elizabeth Taylor should be better known. This novel is so clever. It is a pastiche that, while making reference to several other novels, is still a evocative, insightful and entertaining read in itself. Think of a novel that blends aspects of Jane Eyre for the plot, the real life of Branwell Bronte, a dead first wife cast in the mould of Rebecca de Winter, touches of Cold Comfort Farm and Northanger Abbey and there you have it. And yet it's more than the sum of its parts. It is in itself an engaging and strong story. If you like any of the above novels then you may well enjoy 'Palladian'. I wish Virago would release a new edition though, as it is hard to find.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The governess's tale, 8 May 2010
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I wasn't sure what to make of this rather strange and somewhat flawed novel, Elizabeth Taylor's second, published in 1946. I love her writing, but I don't think this one will ever be a favourite ( and it's probably not the best one to choose if you've never read Taylor before).
'Cassandra, with all her novel-reading, could be sure of experiencing the proper emotions ....' From the opening sentence, it is clear that this is going to be a satirical take on Jane Austen and Jane Eyre. (Taylor's biographer Nicola Beauman points out further parallels with Ivy Compton-Burnett - which I'm afraid went over my head as I'm not familiar with her - and EM Forster's Howards End, very clever this latter one but impossible to describe without spoiling a shocking twist towards the end of book.
Cassandra is the orphaned heroine who takes a job as governess to the young daughter of a widower, still haunted by his love for his dead wife (shades of Rebecca here). '"He will do to fall in love with," Cassandra thought.' Her employer Marion Vanbrugh - a man with a girl's name - is no swarthy Mr Rochester, however, but an effete upperclass drip.
Cassandra does, of course, get her man because that is what happens to governesses in novels and these are 'characters' rather than real people. Far more 'real' are the characters of the monstrous, snobbish nanny and the landlady of the local pub, who is having an illicit affair with Marion's drunken cousin. (Another shocking twist when we discover at the end of the book what has driven him to drink.)
Actually, the more I think about this novel, the more I appreciate its clever construction ... It's strange, very difficult to describe and I'm sorry that this is such a confusing review. A novel worth reading, though if you're a Taylor fan already.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Palladian by Elizabeth Taylor, 10 July 2014
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This review is from: Palladian (VMC) (Paperback)
This was another' good read' if not quite as good as some other books by Elizabeth Taylor
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3.0 out of 5 stars Alright for some, 10 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Palladian (VMC Book 693) (Kindle Edition)
Not the finest of Taylor's books. The conceit is extremely formulaic and rather humourless. Drawing on gothic literature and Austen scenarios, the classically named Cassandra Eason arrives at her employer's stately home with a view to definitely falling in love with him Even the name Marion does not deter her from being enamoured of the foppish bibliophile with the sex appeal of a caterpillar and a tendency to neuralgia. There is a Heathcliff like Tom, a large Seth Starkadder who never quite does anything worse than shag the local camel like barlady albeit somewhat uncaringly.
There is a nasty Nanny who simply an utter bitch rather than an evil Mrs Danvers,and a greedy over prosaic pregnant sister who seems to have wandered in from another genre.
There is nothing nasty in the woodshed except for a pointless death. I say pointless, because it adds nothing at all to the storyline.No one even seems remotely sad which is odd, to say the least.
The death is simply skimmed over and bloodied debris thrown into the bushes. Seemed like no one cared except Tom who gives up drinking and shagging.
We are left on a note that Cassandra will be happy with her bookish mate and the attentions of the reformed Lothario, Tom.
She seems to be too uptight for any threesomes as does her husband who would be almost bound to get a headache, so I found that idea rather doubtful.
This could have been one of Taylor's wittiest novels but instead seems to cower in a fusty dusty dated world of girl's schools, and posh people.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An unusual novel, 2 Jun 2003
This review is from: Palladian (VMC) (Paperback)
Elizabeth Taylor was good at effete protagonists. Here the so-called hero rejoices in the name of Marion; he is a Greek scholar who suffers from neuralgia. That makes him sound like A.E. Housman, but in fact he is a widow whose wife died giving birth to his daughter Sophy. (His wife was reading Greek at the age of eight, which is a lot for Sophy to live up to).
It's a curious household, with Marion's cousin Margaret, a "lady doctor," and their cousin Tom, who is drinking himself to death. To this set-up comes Cassandra Dashwood (what a name), an orphan who is to teach Sophy, while Marion teaches her (Cassandra) Greek. Cassandra at first sees Marion as Mr. Rochester, which he is not; but dramatic, one could say melodramatic events occur in a plot which contains a great deal of delicate humour.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a clever story, well told, 16 Nov 2011
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This review is from: Palladian (VMC) (Paperback)
I agree with all three previous reviewers. I have been a fan of Elizabeth Taylor's work for thirty years and wish more people knew of her writing. She has such a brilliant way with dialogue, and as I read her books, they unfold like a film, thanks to the lovely way Ms. Taylor has of describing each scene.

Palladian is quite a slim novel - especially when you see the size of some books today - but it is a real gem. I read it years ago and re-read it recently. It came fresh to me all over again, and I could appreciate it's literary allusions all the more, with maturity.

It is not giving anything away to say that Cassandra's dream does come true but, given the events that happen in her time with the Vanbrugh's one wonders, will she be happy?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good!, 6 Dec 2014
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This review is from: Palladian (VMC Book 693) (Kindle Edition)
Excellent author who cannot write a bad sentence.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It’s all very D.H. Lawrence, 9 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Palladian (VMC) (Paperback)
I got this book because of its connections with Jane Eyre. Actually, I think it’s probably more similar to Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca, because the only Jane Eyre bits in here is that there’s an orphaned governess to a spoiled girl, whose father keeps brooding. Oh, and this isn’t Elizabeth Taylor the Hollywood star, it’s someone else who just happens to have the same name.

Cassandra Dashwood goes to be a governess for Sophy, a girl of indeterminate age. Other occupants of the run-down house are Sophy’s father, Marion, who keeps brooding over his dead wife. Marion’s cousins Margaret and Tom are doing their thing – Margaret’s pregnant by someone who isn’t her husband, Tom’s a drunk who has an affair with the pub landlord’s wife.

According to the introduction, Taylor is hi-LAR-ious, and while her characterisation is great, and her way of pin-pointing the different types of speech depending on social status is spot-on, it’s not what I’d call funny, or even amusing. If anything, it reminds me of D.H. Lawrence, with the way the characters tend to be annoying gits who are really preachy about their own self-righeousness and who really can’t be bothered to care for anyone but themselves.

Honestly, this is more like Women in Love than Jane Eyre. And I [expletive adverb] hated Women in Love.
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Palladian (VMC Book 693)
Palladian (VMC Book 693) by Elizabeth Taylor
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