2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Eccentric but Diverting,
This review is from: The Brontes Went to "Woolworths" (The Bloomsbury Group) (Paperback)
I picked this up thinking that it would be something along the lines of Dodie Smith's I Captured the Castle, or perhaps something in the Mitford line. It certainly started that way, as a story of an upper middle class bohemian family who have fallen on rather straitened times since the death of their father. Katrine, the eldest daughter is at drama school, Deirdre, the narrator, is a jobbing journalist and Shiel is the baby of the family. Their mother, an eccentric character, encourages the girls to plump out their daily grind with an extraordinary rich and fertile imaginative life in which their dog becomes a pope and they invite imaginary figures either from literature or people they have read about in the newspapers to tea and incorporate their stories into their own life.
The story has two strands. It deals with what happens when real life characters who have been embroidered by the family into larger than life figures actually meet them, and what happens when other characters take on more life in a supernatural way. Unlike I Capture the Castle it has a distinctly eerie, slightly morbid tone, which gives it a unique voice, and stops it from becoming what would otherwise be a pastiche of things that have gone before.
I enjoyed it very much once I had grasped what was going on. The narrative is quite jumbled to begin with and you have to bear with it for the first few chapters. After that it becomes much more compelling.