- Audio Download
- Listening Length: 18 hours and 38 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Audible Studios
- Audible.co.uk Release Date: 12 Aug. 2005
- Language: English
- ASIN: B002SQAXME
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
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Casting Off Audiobook – Unabridged
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The fourth in the Cazalet Chronicles, following on from 'The Light Years'; 'Marking Time' and 'Confusion', Elizabeth Jane Howard's 'Casting Off' begins in July 1945, when the war in Europe has ended, and continues the story of the extended Cazalet family until 1947. When the book was first published in 1995, 'Casting Off' was intended to be the last in the saga - however, eighteen years later, Elizabeth Jane Howard revisited the Cazalet family for the very last time with 'All Change'. In 'Casting Off', as in the previous instalment, the author keeps her readers up to date with the lives of the older members of the family - Edward Cazalet, is still leading a double life dividing his time between his wife, Villy, and his mistress, Diana, but their relationship is now taken a stage further; Hugh is still trying to cope with losing his wife, and is finding himself at loggerheads with Edward, whose behaviour he is finding reprehensible in more ways than one; Rupert (who had previously been missing, presumed killed and, as we know from the ending of the previous instalment, has finally returned home) is struggling to return to normality and he and Zoe are finding it difficult to adjust to living as husband and wife again; and Rachel is still finding it difficult to spend time with, or commit herself fully to, her much-loved female friend, Sid, which causes further problems between them. However, as in 'Confusion' Ms Howard now continues to focus mainly on the younger members of the family: namely, Louise, Polly and Clary, who are now young women. Louise, who has married the much-older Michael Hadleigh, continues to find marriage and motherhood difficult, not helped by the interference of her possessive and controlling mother-in-law, Lady Zinnia; Polly is still struggling with her unrequited love for family friend, Archie, but is surprised to find herself falling for someone quite different; Clary, delighted that her father, Rupert, has finally come home, falls in love with totally the wrong person for her and turns to the ever-reliable Archie to help her cope with the fall-out; and there is a whole lot more to read about in this instalment including various little sub-plots about the other members of the extended Cazalet family, but naturally I shall leave all of that for prospective readers to learn for themselves.
As I have commented in previous reviews of mine for Elizabeth Jane Howard's books, this is an exquisitely written novel and, like the previous three instalments in the series, is a leisurely-paced yet involving story full of well-realized characters and one that is a pleasure to read from start to finish. Although I have to mention that I don't usually choose family sagas as my preferred choice of reading, Ms Howard always writes with perception and humour and she uses the English language so beautifully, that I am happy to read anything she has written, and for downtime reading, these Cazalet Chronicles work particularly well. As this book was originally intended to be the last in the series, I am tempted to leave it here, especially as I understand that the much later addition 'All Change' has received mixed reviews - however, I have the feeling that before long my curiosity will get the better of me and I shall be ordering the fifth instalment and enjoying it nevertheless.