10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Yes, there are bad Persephones!,
This review is from: House-Bound (Paperback)
And this is as bad as it gets, a real dog's dinner of a book! Can only imagine that Winifred Peck was the kind pf person who thinks 'everyone has a book in them' - and this was hers! Actually, she wrote many more; let's hope they weren't all as dire as this one.
Where to start? It would have helped, as another reviewer points out, if Lady Peck had decided what she was writing about. Rose is a middle-class Edinburgh wife in a sexless marriage (but then she describes herself as 'elderly' at 50) forced to confront the wartime reality of having no servants. That might have worked fine as a theme for a novel - but Lady P gets terribly carried away by Rose's seriously dysfunctional family. (Sibling rivalries, attempted suicide, psychiatric disorders, it's all there in a terrible pot-pourri that would keep an agony aunt going for a year.) Then she throws in a heavy dose of uplifting religion of the Patience Strong/Hallmark cards variety. And, strangest of all, is the completely unconvincing, utterly bizarre character - is he meant to be funny? I wasn't sure - of an American army major, a trained shrink who turns up at times of crisis like a male Mary Poppins to make soup, offer unsolicited psychiatric advice, rescue and finally marry the suicidal daughter of the house, do the washing-up ... oh, that little American major can turn his hand to anything. 'Well, I know you'll think this an absurd thing for a commonplace plain man to tell you, but it's a fact that from that moment I felt that ordinary love was over for me, and that I'd vow myself to the service of unhappy women.'
There were times when I guffawed, this book is so bad - that was one of them - but mostly it was just boring. One Fine Day by Mollie Panter-Downes is a lovely novel by an infinitely better writer about a middleclass woman facing up to life without servants ... and if you're fascinated by housework you could always read Persephone's How to Run Your Home Without Help. Winifred Peck is only fit for lighting the fire with! But go carefully with firelighters - they're probably rationed.
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Initial post: 14 Apr 2013, 21:55:50 BST
Telepathy! Molly Panter-Downes was in my mind when I wrote my review. How much more vivid and realistic. I loved "Good Evening Mrs Craven" and it was that which leapt into my mind's eye - can you imagine anything as bone dry in Winifred Peck's repertoire, no, obviously not!
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