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Confusion (Cazalet Chronicles) Paperback – 7 Nov 2013
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The third book in the landmark Cazalet Chronicles, previously a BBC radio and TV series. Set in wartime Britain, Confusion follows the relationships of the Cazalet family and their lives, loves, and losses.
The third story of the Cazalet family opens in the spring of 1942 and follows through to VE day, 8 May 1945. Polly and Clary have left Home Place for London; Louise has wed; Polly and Archie Lestrange each fall in love. Sombre days are echoed in the struggles of the characters' lives.See all Product description
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Exquisitely written, as are all of Elizabeth Jane Howard's novels, 'Confusion', like the first two instalments of the series, is a leisurely-paced yet involving story full of well-realized characters and one that is an absolute pleasure to read. I have to say that I don't usually choose family sagas as my preferred choice of reading, but 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. I am now keen to read and review the fourth book in the series: 'Casting Off'.
Please note: I opted for the Kindle Whispersync edition, which meant that I could download the Kindle version and the beautifully narrated audio version: 'Confusion' for little more than the price of a new paperback - which is ideal for commuting or for those times when you have to get on with something else but are still able to carry on listening.
These books are quite a social history of a period which more often is the reserve of thrillers and spy novels. Elizabeth Jane Howard has a subtle hand when it comes to observing relationship, such as Polly’s observation after her mother’s death: “It was possible to believe that she was gone; it was their not ever coming back that was so difficult.” ‘Confusion’ is in part a study of the grief of Polly and her father Hugh; and that of Clary and Neville, whose father Rupert has disappeared in action in France. Clary continues to believe her father is still alive, though the rest of the family quietly accepts his death. Then word from France brings a sliver of hope. Clary grieves for the father she remembers as a child, writing a daily diary for him, and not as the soldier he died as.
The other theme in ‘Confusion’ is love, or the lack of it. Louise’s story is not about death but about young love, expectations and marriage and the realization that her husband Michael is more strongly wedded to his mother Zee than to her. There are war-time affairs, some lust, some love, and with all of them comes the confusion of uncertain times, stress and the pressure of living life ‘now’.
War seems ordinary in the everyday sense, but the Cazalets are living through extra-ordinary times. The familiar characters continue from the first two books, their story arcs going through radical change now as the war progresses and everyone’s life is changed forever.
Read more of my book reviews at http://www.sandradanby.com/book-reviews-a-z/
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