Read from September 18 to 20, 2015
Description: A diary for her innermost thoughts, a china ornament, a ten-shilling note, and a roll of flame-coloured silk for her first evening dress—these are the gifts Olivia Curtis receives for her 17th birthday. She anticipates her first dance, the greatest yet most terrifying event of her restricted social life, with tremulous uncertainty and excitement. For her pretty, charming elder sister Kate, the dance is certain to be a triumph, but what will it be for shy, awkward Olivia? Exploring the daydreams and miseries attendant upon even the most innocent of social events, Rosamond Lehmann perfectly captures the emotions of a girl standing poised on the threshold of womanhood
Opening: The village, in the hollow below the house, is picturesque, unhygienic: it has more atmosphere than form, than out line: huddled shapes of soft red brick sag towards gardens massed with sunflowers, Canterbury bells, sweet williams.
Sometimes it is perfect to hunker down into the flannelette-esque comfort of a plotless prose that displays such beauty.
'Oh nature, Oh nature, with all thy powers
What dost thou do through the long winter hours?
I love thee, oh nature, so sweet and so good,
But where does thou get thy winter food?'
NB I read to my dog and she particularly liked my rendition of the little Wainwrights chorusing 'Yaas'. Hilarious.
3* Invitation to the Waltz
CR The Weather in the Streets
3* Dusty Answer
4* The Echoing Grove