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All Change (Cazalet Chronicles) Paperback – Unabridged, 27 Mar 2014
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The fifth book in the landmark Cazalet Chronicles, recently broadcast on BBC Radio 4
From the Back Cover
'Elizabeth Jane Howard is one of those novelists who shows, through her work, what the novel is for . . . She helps us to do the necessary thing - open our eyes and our hearts' Hilary Mantel
It is the 1950s and as the Duchy, the Cazalets' beloved matriarch, dies, she takes with her the last remnants of a disappearing world - of houses with servants, of class and tradition - in which the Cazalets have thrived.
Louise, now divorced, becomes entangled in a painful affair; while Polly and Clary must balance marriage and motherhood with their own ideas and ambitions.
Hugh and Edward, now in their sixties, are feeling ill-equipped for this modern world; while Villy, long abandoned by her husband, must at last learn to live independently. But it is Rachel, who has always lived for others, who will face her greatest challenges yet . . .
As a new generation of Cazalets descend on Home Place, only one thing is certain: nothing will ever be the same again.
'Heartwarming and wise' Observer
'Beautifully written and utterly engrossing' Woman & Home
'A huge treat . . . you do rather hope that the saga will go on forever' Daily ExpressSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Cazalet Chronicles by Elizabeth Jane Howard.
This volume opens with the death of the Duchy. It is 1956 and with the passing of the
old lady the life of privelege found in the earlier chronicles comes to an end also.
The author does a brilliant job of bringing the reader up to speed with past
histories without holding up the continuing story.
In this post-war world, the family finds itself facing the challenges of a changing
world and economic climate, and are dealing with an uncertain future. This is a
new world, where financial securities of the past are jeopardised. Prosperity of
the family buisness can longer be guaranteed, consequently bold decisions have to
be taken concerning the fate of the beautiful country house which was the setting
of so many idyllic summers and Christmases in the past.
E J Howard draws the reader in fully and convincingly, so you feel involved in these characters
lives and care deeply about them. Howard's strength is bringing alive historical
detail and brings into play social, cultural and economic changes and how they impact
on the day to day lives of individuals.
This is a book reflecting on change in all its forms and nostalgic though it is - the
harshness of modern times and events do reflect the life of the author herself who at
the age of ninety has written an engaging and powerful closing chapter of the Cazalet
chronicles - a gem of a book.
In the really important ways I wasn't disappointed. Howard is masterly at representing real life through the prism of fiction, it's high points and dull realities, pleasures and pains.
However (as another reviewer has said) there is the glaring error that it was Hugh's son William's twin who died at birth, not Simon's. Yet more than that, facts presented in the four previous novels have been altered. Simon was not told that his mother Sybil died by his Headmaster; he was brought home from school in time to say goodbye, when she was still conscious, a fact that upset his sister Polly who was only taken in to see her when she wasn't. In CASTING OFF Simon was also a success at University and set to be a doctor, confident and sure of his place in the world. This is not reflected in this book at all.
It makes me wonder how well the current editor actually knew the quartet of previous books. That grouch over, I loved the novel.
The first quarter seemed to re-tell the plot of the earlier novels unnecessarily - I can't imagine anyone who hasn't read the first four books would be interested in Book 5, so why bore the reader by going over the same ground? This links in with another problem I had with the fifth novel: Elizabeth Jane Howard seems to have lost her nerve. The earlier books were models of psychological insight, giving just enough information to convey the story, the characters' feelings, the era and the themes, without over-writing or explaining too much. She would move on from viewpoint to viewpoint with skill, verve and confidence, leaving it to the reader to fill in the gaps. In book 5, however, she seems to no longer do this - she fills in the gaps endlessly and in an often pedestrian manner. She has characters saying something and then feels the need to explain what they meant, as if the reader might not have got it. She loses the lightness of touch of the earlier novels and adds weight without depth.
I found the dialogue too, at times, rather inauthentic and dull, with some characters badly drawn (Teddy's Irish barmaid being a case in point). The children were unconvincing and twee, rather than delightfully comic as in the earlier novels, though I found Georgie more convincing than the others. The older characters generally retained their shape, though sometimes just became dull or else Howard seemed to forget them and they were barely mentioned.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I apologise for using a cliché, but this last Cazalet chronicle is an absolute tour de force. I hate to have to even mention "last", but, of course, this has to be the end. Read morePublished 13 days ago by Mrs. J. M. Smith
I confess I hadn't noticed the continuity problems that others spotted - and they are substantial! This is slightly odd, as I read all five of the books after I'd seen that 'All... Read morePublished 27 days ago by Judi Moore
I have so enjoyed the Cazelet Chronicles and also pleased that I waited until they were all published so I didn't have to wait for the next one to come out. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Closet Romantic
Have thoroughly enjoyed all of the Cazalet chronicles. If anything, the series gets better with each book, as layers of the story build.Published 3 months ago by Catherine Field