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Sarah Roberts (London)

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Mariana
Mariana
by Monica Dickens
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.00

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A timeless tale of growing up, 17 Sept. 2006
This review is from: Mariana (Paperback)
I picked this up just after reading Monica Dickens' autobiography, An Open Book, in which Dickens explains how much she drew from her own life when writing Mariana (her second book). With this personal experience to guide her, she paints a lovely, unvarnished portrait of a girl's growing up in London between the wars. She touches on issues that nearly every female can relate to: the excitement and pain of a first love; the joys and struggles of making friends; the often difficult task of fitting in at school; and the search for excitement and purpose in life. In refreshingly unpretentious prose and in a deceptively simple style, Dickens, like her great-grandfather Charles, gets to the heart of basic human emotions and dramas. It's a book to take to bed on a cold night or to read while on holiday: fun, honest, and heartwarming - another Persephone delight.


William - an Englishman
William - an Englishman
by Cicely Hamilton
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.00

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A bitter dose of reality, 16 Jan. 2006
The fascinating tale of a young man thrust from a highly sheltered existence into the 'real' world; a place of death, destruction and human cruelty - in other words: World War I. William's naive convictions, fostered by keen involvement in pacifist groups, are shattered when he and his recent wife find themselves face to face with a German firing squad while honeymooning in France. Like the other Persephone books I've read, this one deals with gut wrenching emotion in a smooth manner, that is, through a story interesting and easy to read. Hightly recommended - real insight into that time period.


Miss Ranskill Comes Home
Miss Ranskill Comes Home
by Barbara Euphan Todd
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.00

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Home Sweet Home?, 10 Nov. 2005
From the start, Miss Ranskill proves she is not your ordinary woman when she uses her bare hands to scrape out a grave in the sand for the Carpenter, her sole companion on the desert island upon which she has been stranded for four years. I was fascinated with that rather grim beginning and compelled to read on. The story that follows - of Miss R returning to her home in England and discovering there is a war on - is clear-sighted and revealing. It goes beyond the classic 'woman on the homefront' tale to describe a lady who sees through the carefully engineered persona many women put on as they threw themselves into the wartime efforts. A brilliant read; one of my favourite Persephone titles.


The Runaway
The Runaway
by Elizabeth Anna Hart
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mistaken Identity?, 2 Nov. 2005
This review is from: The Runaway (Paperback)
What a fun story. My sixth Persephone book and I have yet to be disappointed. I flew through this in one sitting. It is an extremely fast-paced story, originally intended for children, but quite appropriate for adults as well. The narrator is a young girl itching for adventure and has her wish come true with the sudden arrival of a lively teen girl who has allegedly run away from school and wants to hide in her new friend's house. What follows is a surprising tale with the runaway girl keeping things interesting.


Good Evening, Mrs Craven: the Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes
Good Evening, Mrs Craven: the Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes
by Mollie Panter-Downes
Edition: Paperback

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tribute to an England past, 26 Oct. 2005
Mollie Panter-Downes takes a wonderfully penetrating look at how World War II affects the daily lives of families, wives, and veterans. She paints a nostalgic picture of these very 'English' lives, yet does not shy away from the harsh realities the conflict produced for those left at home. The title story is particularly moving in its potrayal of Mr.Craven's mistress 'Mrs. Craven'. This middle-aged spinster's deep loneliness and anguish when her companion has gone to fight and his regular letters suddenly cease, touches at the heart of human suffering. From the five Persephone books I have read, this stands out as a favourite.


Someone at a Distance
Someone at a Distance
by Dorothy Whipple
Edition: Paperback

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wife vs Young Temptress, 26 Oct. 2005
This review is from: Someone at a Distance (Paperback)
Continuing with my run of Persephone titles (following the delightful Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day), Someone at a Distance lives up to the high standard I have come to expect from Persephone. Dorothy Whipple puts a unique spin on the all too familiar tale of a husband going off with a younger woman - leaving his wife and children to fend for themselves. Vividly imagined, the characters' inner dialogues and outward behaviour as they react to the events unfolding around them are both realistic and insightful. The wife's response, as she struggles to cope and find new accomodation and work, is especially moving.


Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
by Winifred Watson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.00

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dowdy meets Socialite, 26 Oct. 2005
What a fantastic, truly charming story. It is an excellent mood lifter and the sort of feel good book that makes you want to throw caution to the wind and have a wild night out on the town. Due to an error at her job agency, Miss Pettigrew, a middle-aged spinster looking for work as a governess finds herself early one morning at Miss LaFosse's house - a young, gorgeous socialite. Her life is changed irrevocably when Miss P steps across the threshold and becomes caught in the dramatic, eventful maelstrom that is Miss LaFosse's life. Amazingly relevant by 21st century standards (one of Miss LaFosse's many lovers uses that most notorious of class A drugs), Winifred Watson does not fail to surprise or delight.


The Home-Maker
The Home-Maker
by Dorothy Canfield Fisher
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Out of the kitchen Mama, Daddy's cooking tonight, 13 Oct. 2005
This review is from: The Home-Maker (Paperback)
Another fantastic Persephone book (Susan Glaspell's Fidelity first hooked me in) by another American author. Dorothy Canfield Fisher tells an initially horrifying yet gripping tale of a maniacally high energy, perfectionist mother who unwittingly brings unhappiness and physical illness on her husband and two children because of her own misery as a housewife. While the husband and wife's complete ignorance of the effects their inner desires and feelings have on others is not always entirely plausible, their emotions nevertheless stand out as most genuine and relevant to today's society. Canfield Fisher succeeds at depicting a very real spousal situation and as an author in the early to mid twentieth century, fashions a role reversal that, even today, might sadly seem odd and cause embarrassment and/or shame to the couple. Suitable for both men and women, I highly recommend this very quick read.


Fidelity
Fidelity
by Susan Glaspell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In the name of love, 25 Sept. 2005
This review is from: Fidelity (Paperback)
A brilliant story from an early 20th century American author that insightfully probes into the question of 'true' love. One becomes unexpectedly sympathetic to the central character; a young woman who has an affair with a married man. Although written nearly a century ago, the characters' emotions and inner feelings remain highly relevant.


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