The eternal triangle told from an unique perspective and written with such emotion, warmth and understanding it'll make you weep. What a refreshing concept, basing a book on a love triangle involving two men and a woman but; the men are in love with one another. The author delves deeper and deeper into her characters, unearthing more and more of their personality, which means you become involved, they feel like friends and not ink and paper shadows. A lot of tragedy befalls these three lovely folk as the author unravels what must be the ultimate conundrum and I was an emotional wreck at times. Not a "frothy" lightweight romance by any stretch of the imagaination. These men had to hide, and hide well, otherwise they could have lost everything, including the careers they'd worked so hard for, and you do get a sense of that "threat", there's a dark shadow throughout the book. It does seem unfair that a young woman is used, drawn in under false pretences to become a "gay wife", her grief is palpable but; it happens in reality never mind fiction. There are some serious issues bravely explored in "My Policeman" and the author handles the whole concept with sensitivity and dignity all of the way through.
Marion and Patrick are both deeply in love with Tom, the policeman of the title. It is 1957 and homosexuality is still illegal, so Tom attempts a life of married respectability with the besotted Marion, whilst carrying on a relationship with Patrick, his true love.
The novel is narrated alternately by Marion (in 1999) and Patrick, and this device enables us to see the same events and characters from differing perspectives. Marion's delusion and belated self-awareness combined with Patrick's lack of freedom makes for a deeply sad story; one can only watch as the characters condemn themselves to a life of unhappiness.
"My Policeman" is an engrossing read and you are immediately immersed in the characters and the Brighton setting. Roberts convincingly evokes the precarious and secretive lives led by gay people during the fifties and I finished the book glad that we have come so far since that time.
The policeman in the title is Tom Burgess. In the 1950s it was very difficult to be homosexual so he takes a wife, Marion, to conform, but he's really in love with Patrick, an older man who works in a museum. Although Tom is the central character in the whole story, he actually has no voice as the story alternates between the perspectives of Marion and Patrick.
I found this to be quite a slow read, but one that I enjoyed. I preferred Marion's sections to Patrick's as she battles with the underlying knowledge that her husband is not what she hoped he would be. I liked the stilted feeling of the era and thought the author captured well the taboo around being homosexual in a time when not only was it not socially acceptable but it was against the law.
Narrated by two characters; Marion and Patrick this book is set in Brighton in the mid-twentieth century. The story is based around a young policeman Tom Burgess and the two people who are in love with him - schoolteacher Marion and museum curator Patrick. The story is set in the 1950s, meaning that Tom and Patrick have to maintain their relationship in secrecy, and Marion thinks all her dreams have come true when Tom asks her to marry him, little knowing that her troubles are just about to begin.
It is told through diary entries and is, in places, very personal. It is a great read for anyone who is studying social history in the 1950s or about the attitude towards same sex relationships and I found the book to be well researched and very well written.
I feel as though I've been living and breathing this book for the past couple of days. The main characters felt so real and sympathetic and their predicament so desperately sad. I know it's only the beginning of March, but I've found a very strong contender for my book of the year.
Set in Brighton in the mid-twentieth century, the story centres around young policeman Tom Burgess and the two people who are in love with him - conventional schoolteacher Marion and cultured, erudite museum curator Patrick. This being the 1950s, Tom and Patrick have to conduct their relationship in secrecy (not least because of Tom's job), and Marion thinks all her dreams have come true when Tom asks her to marry him, little knowing that her troubles are just about to begin.
The book is narrated by Marion and Patrick in the form of journals - Patrick`s written at the time of his relationship with Tom, and Marion`s in the present day, directing her narrative towards Patrick after she brings him to live with her and Tom to recuperate following a severe stroke. We don't get to hear from Tom - just worship and admire him through the eyes of the two people who adore him. It was interesting to observe a character in this way; at times he came across as self-centred, cowardly and spoiled, and at others just vulnerable, confused and understandably very scared.
The impossible predicament of gay men and women in the mid-twentieth century is explored through Patrick's attempts to form a lasting and meaningful relationship against a background of prejudice, suspicion and fear, and the 1950s period detail is beautifully observed; everything from the clothing the characters wear and the food they eat through to Marion's involvement with the burgeoning CND movement, all adds to the evocative sense of time and place.
I loved this beautifully written, heartbreakingly sad story, the memory of which will stay with me for a long time.
This novel tells of the love triangle between Marion, Tom (the eponymous policeman of the title) and Patrick. It is the 1950s, and Marion, a young schooteacher, falls for and marries Tom. But Tom has a dark secret; before he married Marion, he met and was seduced by the older, more experienced Patrick, and marriage is not going to be allowed to get in the way of his first love. Inevitably, problems and heartbreak follow, not least because homosexuality is still illegal, and as the story unfolds, a difficult situation gradually becomes impossible
The story is told in two first-person voices; Marion, who, many years later, has written her story down, and is reading it to Patrick, who is now bedridden with a stroke; and Patrick, who has his own point of view. Approriately enough, we do not hear from Tom - the character at the centre of the triangle - and hence his point of view is seen - or guessed at - through those of Marion and Patrick.
This novel is beautifully written, and I was immediately drawn into the terrible dilemma of the protagonists. The reader is lead through the tangles of an impossible situation, as Marion in particular tries to find answers and come to terms with what is happening. Perhaps inevitably, my sympathies lay with Marion, the unsuspecting victim in a drama which was not of her making; hers was a simple choice, when she married Tom, while the two men were both guilty of deception. But life is never that straightforward, and it is possible to sympathise with the men, especially Tom, the weaker of the two. The ending, too, is satisfyng without being too neat (so many writers fail to deliver at the end), and I as I came to the end, I felt that I had had a very good read.
And yet...a day after finishing the book, I find that I have already lost some of its impact. Perhaps it is because of the gentle way in which the story is told, for although the subject is at best difficult, and at worst, tragic, it aroused no very strong feelings in me. So while I enjoyed the novel very much, and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it, it isn't the kind of book I want to shout from the rooftops; hence the four rather than five stars.
This is one of those books that transports you to another place, so that when you look up from the page, you are slightly surprised to find that you are still at home, and not in Brighton in 1957. This is a very special book that I think I will always remember. I still think about the three main characters a lot, even though it's now a couple of weeks scince I finished the book. My heart ached for Marion, as she is used as a human shield to cover up the illegal relationship between Patrick and Tom. I felt for her when the bottom dropped out of her world when Patrick told her about his trip with Tom, and her desolation is almost tangible when she walks on the beach with her teacher friend. The story is narrated in part by Patrick, and partly by Marion. As a result of this, you get to know both of those characters quite well. Tom, on the other hand, who is loved by both of the others, remains a thinly sketched character that I found it quite difficult to engage with. In fact, I did not feel that he was particularly likeable. Both Patrick and Marion seemed to be infatuated by his athletic appearance, and while this was sufficient for them both at first, they soon wanted more from Tom, which he was unable, or unwilling to give. Marion gave him the outward appearance of respectability, and although he appears to have stronger feelings for Patrick, he was not willing to put himself at risk of danger for him. I really hope that this book is the best seller that it deserves to be, and I just know that it would make an absolutely brilliant film!