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Something in Disguise Paperback – 2 Jul 1993

4.2 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Paperback, 2 Jul 1993
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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; Reprints edition (2 July 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330332023
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330332026
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.7 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 677,895 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Book Description

From the lauded, bestselling author of the Cazalet Chronicles --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

May's second marriage to Colonel Herbert Browne-Lacey is turning out to be a terrible mistake. Her son, Oliver, leaves home only to drift from one affair to another; his sister Elizabeth follows him, yearning for some kind of secure relationship. While even Alice, the colonel's meek daughter, is driven into marriage to escape her father's sinister behaviour . . .

At once a candid depiction of a post-war family on the cusp of change and a touching love story, Something in Disguise embodies the startling truth, wit and daring that Elizabeth Jane Howard is renowned for.

'Has all Elizabeth Jane Howard's particularly feminine perception . . . yet what lingers in the mind is its delicious funniness' Guardian

'The book is astute, experienced, vulnerable, and it reads with incomparable ease' Kirkus Reviews

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Elizabeth Jane Howard, most recently famous for her quartet of bestsellers about the Cazalet family, is memorable for her subtlety and emotional intelligence. Her novels, fed by sensitive observation and unflinching, often painful honesty, are compellingly, page-turningly readable without losing one jot of sophistication. The author has lived a long life and known many luminaries of the literary scene. Something In Disguise was wrriten when she was in middle life, married to the great comic novelist Kingsley Amis and stepmother to Martin.
It deals with surprises. May, mother of two grown-up children, lost her husband during the Second World War and has misguidedly married again. Her second husband is, she thinks, merely difficult and cantankerous. As the story progresses, the reader—and May—will learn how much more sinister this bumbling old soldier really is.
The children, Oliver and Elizabeth, make their own discoveries during the course of the novel. Attractive, shallow Oliver finds himself falling for a girl who simply won't succumb to his easy charm; and shy Elizabeth, hiring herself out as a dinner party cook in London, meets the unlikely man who will transform and illuminate her future.
Most touching of all is Alice, hapless daughter of May's villainous husband. Escaping life at home by drifting into marriage with a hideously well observed philistine, her marital agonies are recorded with relentless comedy and a wealth of compassion.
As always with an Elizabeth Jane Howard novel, the characters are fully alive and the story grips as tightly as a thriller. This isn't, in my opinion, one of her best works—I'd recommend The Long View, The Beautiful Visit and After Julius—but, coming from her hand, it can't fail to charm, enlighten and absorb. She is a beautiful artist and, once encountered, vividly colours the memory.
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Elizabeth Jane Howard is an excellent story teller. Like all of her novels this was unputdownable. Goodness knows where she gets such splendid plots, all her books that I have read I have liked. This was a real good read!
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First published in 1969, Elizabeth Jane Howard's fifth novel 'Something in Disguise' tells the story of May, whose husband was killed during WW2, leaving her a widow with two children: Oliver and Elizabeth, who are now twenty-four and twenty years old respectively. Some years after her husband's death, May married Colonel Herbert Browne-Lacey, a widower with a daughter, Alice; however May is beginning to realize that her decision to marry Herbert was most probably a very unwise one. Herbert, we soon learn, is a pompous bore - May's children, particularly Oliver, tease him whenever the opportunity arises - but Herbert is not just a bore, he is a selfish, domineering and penny-pinching bully. Having coerced May into buying (with her money) a large, rambling and dankly-cold house in the country, he rations the electricity and the heating, keeps their alcohol supply locked up in his firelit study and, when he is not at home, he spends his time at his club or in other 'pursuits' leaving May to cope with the upkeep of the huge house practically on her own - which she finds increasingly difficult, especially as lately she has been feeling rather unwell.

Oliver, who can't bear Herbert, has left home and lives in London and although a personable and clever young man, has difficulty holding down a job and drifts from one insincere love affair to another; Elizabeth, keen to make a new life for herself soon follows him to London. Even Alice, who tells herself that she loves her father, is desperate to leave home and finds herself accepting a marriage proposal from the very dull and suburban Leslie.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book arrived on time in the condition described and was also a good read, though something of a period piece. It was the first book by Elizabeth Jane Howard that I had read and has inspired me to read some more.
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A story that takes you back in time, the time of memories you have heard of or or been a part of all those years ago. Thank you Elizabeth Jane .
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This is the first book I have read by this author. I had heard the Cazalet Chronicle series dramatised on BBC Radio, and expected to enjoy this novel very much. Although it starts well with interesting characters, the unlikely events led me to lose interest and, unusually, I did not finish it
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