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Customer Review

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 Stars. Perceptively Observed, Beautifully Written, 27 Mar. 2012
This review is from: The Master Bedroom (Paperback)
Kate Flynn, forty-three years old, decides to leave her university career as a lecturer in Slavic studies, to return home on a year's sabbatical to care for her mother, Billie, who is in the first stages of senile dementia. Home is a large, crumbling old house in Wales called Firenze, where Billie was born and has spent her life and where Kate was also born in the huge, old-fashioned master bedroom.

Shortly after settling back home (after a moment's panic where she asks herself what was she thinking of to give up her job and her London flat), Kate meets up with David, the brother of her old friend, Carol. Before she knows it, Kate finds herself becoming very attracted to David, who is going through an unsettled period with Suzie, his second wife. Suzie heartily dislikes the classical music that David loves - a passion that is shared by Kate - and soon David and Kate are spending time together attending concerts and sharing their love of music. However, although Kate's feelings for David continue to grow, she begins to realize that he doesn't feel quite the same way and, when David's seventeen-year-old son, Jamie, shows that he wants Kate sexually, she acquiesces, and then finds herself in a difficult situation that has painful and far-reaching consequences for all involved.

I really enjoyed this novel (which, although quite different, in some ways reminded me of Mary Wesley's Second Fiddle) and though it must be said that Kate is not an entirely admirable character, she is an interesting and complex one, and Hadley describes her situation so deftly and perceptively that I found myself empathizing with her despite my initial misgivings. Tessa Hadley is a wonderful writer with a real talent for describing the human condition; her prose style is excellent and her descriptive writing is richly imaginative, making this yet another of her books that I will re-read and can certainly recommend.

4.5 Stars.
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