The story of three generations of women, tracking the small, seemingly insignificant moments that ultimately determine the course of life events. Beautifully written, touching but not sappy romance.
(Spoiler alert) Lively's a wonderful writer, and this is a delightful family saga. It's not your "normal" family saga, though, because WW II and its consequences deprive it of most of the typical men that usually populate such sagas. It begins with Lorna and Matt in the 1930s, intensely in love, and their baby Molly. Lorna's parents disown her, but the couple's intense artistic life provide a few memories for Molly that carry her through life. Matt's killed in action; Lorna has no job skills but needs to support Molly. Matt's best friend, a disabled printer, offers her a job in London, so Molly grows up there. Later, she forms a relationship with a much older man, her boss, whom she doesn't love, but gives her a daughter, Ruth. These women form an unorthodox household full of love and laughter, but don't speak of how their choices led to where they are now. Ruth ultimately decides she needs to know how and why Lorna and Matt formed their strong bond. A lovely, sparely written book, showing that love can be found in the most unlikely places.
What a splendid book ! Penelope gets better and better - loved it !
Lively's well-crafted novel is part small-scale family saga and part love story--actually, make that love stories. Beginning with a chance meeting of Lorna, an upper class young woman, and Matt, a starving artist from modest means, in an park in 1935, three generations of an English family are presented to us through the lives of three women, all quite independent in very different ways. Lorna rebels against strict family custom and marries "beneath" herself. Her daughter Molly finds herself pregnant by a married man and feels no compunction to have a husband. Ruth, Molly's daughter, returns somewhat to a conventional lifestyle after her own unusual upbringing, but in early middle-age, begins a journey of self discovery and an exploration of family history.
Husbands, lovers, brothers all play a part in this close-knit but small family, and it is a surprisingly liberal and supportive family. Artists and writers find a welcoming group when they cross paths with the Farady-Talbots. Each generation and its defining era--World War II, the peacetime shortages, the Thatcher years of political upheaval and strikes--is met with a particular equanimity by the family as they turn to each other and the richness of their own personal lives to weather the times. Lively's novel is indeed a gentle read, but it finds certain depth through her ability to make these characters come alive as they live mostly ordinary loves and deal with the ordinary joys and woes.
Also available on CD.
This novel covers three generations from the early 1900's to present, but it is not a large book or heavy read - just right. There are no wasted words, every sentence takes you into the lives of the characters, their choices and of course the consequences. Really enjoyable!
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