House-Bound Hardcover – 1942
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Top Customer Reviews
I am very glad I read it but after a while I had an uncomfortable sense that I did not know for whom Winifred Peck was writing. It is unbearably poignant when it touches on her anxiety for her children and her difficult relationship with her daughter and husband but it becomes rather soap-y and trite as it goes on . It is also quite spiritual ( her father was a bishop) and involved with her relationship with God. It is a truly weird book and needs to be experienced rather than talked about. After all this I still don't know who she thought she was trying to reach!
Where to start? It would have helped, as another reviewer points out, if Lady Peck had decided what she was writing about. Rose is a middle-class Edinburgh wife in a sexless marriage (but then she describes herself as 'elderly' at 50) forced to confront the wartime reality of having no servants. That might have worked fine as a theme for a novel - but Lady P gets terribly carried away by Rose's seriously dysfunctional family. (Sibling rivalries, attempted suicide, psychiatric disorders, it's all there in a terrible pot-pourri that would keep an agony aunt going for a year.) Then she throws in a heavy dose of uplifting religion of the Patience Strong/Hallmark cards variety. And, strangest of all, is the completely unconvincing, utterly bizarre character - is he meant to be funny? I wasn't sure - of an American army major, a trained shrink who turns up at times of crisis like a male Mary Poppins to make soup, offer unsolicited psychiatric advice, rescue and finally marry the suicidal daughter of the house, do the washing-up ... oh, that little American major can turn his hand to anything. 'Well, I know you'll think this an absurd thing for a commonplace plain man to tell you, but it's a fact that from that moment I felt that ordinary love was over for me, and that I'd vow myself to the service of unhappy women.'
There were times when I guffawed, this book is so bad - that was one of them - but mostly it was just boring.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Normally I adore Persephone novels, there are so many forgotten classics out there, but this one was the first one I abandoned halfway through. Read morePublished on 3 Oct. 2012 by Nancy Marlowe
'Housebound' affords the reader a fascinating glimpse into the life of a middle class houswife in the nineteen-forties. Read morePublished on 15 Mar. 2012 by Iris March