Top positive review
6 people found this helpful
Well written, informative, gripping and very sad story.
on 25 July 2013
I bought this book because I am interested in Sir Alfred Munnings who painted a picture of the place where I live. I have read the three unabridged volumes of his autobiography. I enjoyed them being a lover of horses, the countryside and paintings. I read on an internet site that he had had a first wife who committed suicide and was curious as Munnings does not mention this in his autobiography.
Because of the publicity re the recent film made from the book Summer in February I was keen to read the book and see the film.
I would recommend this book. I thought it was well written and it is a very gripping story, with the addition of being set in beautiful Cornwall. Unlike some faction novels, I felt that the author stuck to the facts he actually had evidence of and portrayed the characters well, all of whom were real people. In this book you learn about the Lamorna group of artists, partiularly Harold and Laura Knight which I found fascinating. Also many incidents portrayed in the book were also in Munnings' autobiography. Munnings was a hard swearing, hard drinking man who loved to be the centre of attention and entertain his friends with recitals of poetry, including some of his own. He liked painting gypsies and seemed a bit of a gypsy himself, moving around from place to place, often at short notice. However he worked hard at his art, working outdoors in all weathers. Florence remains an enigmatic character and it is difficult to understand why she ever agreed to marry Munnings, let alone went through with it. It is a sad story for all concerned but I still felt a bit of sympathy for Munnings in the situation, although far more for Gilbert Evans. As for Florence, I am not sure if she was a victim or a bit of a minx. Florence's brother asks Evans what he thinks of his sister. He says "extraordinary" and the brother replies "but not extraordinarily odd?".