This is one of the Persephones that attracts a less consistently enthusiastic response, as evidenced by the relatively few reviews on this page. There are good reasons for this - but this is in no sense a condemnation of the book, which is fascinating, thought provoking, and (appropriately enough) moving. It is in part, I think, because though in some senses a very obvious period piece (the characters all talk abut the house move as "removing", and there is no question but that one has staff, or new hats for the new season) it is extraordinarily immediate and asks obvious questions of all of us in our own lives - and that is never too comfortable, is it?
So on the surface all that happens is that the Rhoda and her mother move out of the house where she and her siblings have all grown up, have a picnic lunch amongst the chaos and a supper with Rhoda's brother Maurice and his wife, who no-one really likes, while the selfless aunt fusses around helping and Rhoda wonders whether she can make a life of her own. But more seriously we are reminded how much we think we know about the people around us, and how wrong we usually are, and how even the most selfish monsters can be unexpectedly loving and vulnerable. But most of all, at least for me, it reminds us how holding on to the past can hold us back from the future and joys we cannot have without a bit of courage to step into the unknown. The result is disturbing for any sentimentalist, but it is at the same time inspiring - because it reminds us that it is never too late to change, to take risks, to move on.