Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A View of the Harbour” as Want to Read:
A View of the Harbour
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

A View of the Harbour

by
3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  214 ratings  ·  25 reviews
In the faded coastal village of Newby, everyone looks out for—and in on—each other, and beneath the deceptively sleepy exterior, passions run high. Beautiful divorcee Tory is painfully involved with her neighbor, Robert, while his wife Beth, Tory's best friend, is consumed by the worlds she creates in her novels, oblivious to the relationship developing next door. Their da ...more
Paperback, 313 pages
Published April 6th 2006 by Virago UK (first published 1947)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A View of the Harbour, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A View of the Harbour

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 444)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Jane
I live in one harbour-town, I work in another, and Elizabeth Taylor swept me away to another harbour-town in another age. To Newby, a small town on the south coast just after the war.

Bertram Hemingway, a retired naval man, was a newcomer to the town. He intended to spend his days painting views of the harbour. He enjoyed the company of women, he enoyed being involved in the life of the town, but he gave no thought to the possibility that some would read much more than he meant into the interest
...more
Ali
Read as part of the Elizabeth Taylor centenary celebrations of the Librarything Virago group – fellow virago readers beware – spoilers ahead.

A View of the Harbour was Elizabeth Taylor’s third published novel. The setting is a delight, a rather down at heel seaside town, with a wonderful cast of characters. There is the invalided and irascible Mrs Bracey and her two daughters, lonely, widowed Lily Watson, living above the waxworks, who goes to The Anchor to break up the evening. Beth a writer liv
...more
Kevin
This is my third Elizabeth Taylor novel and I think so far this must be the best of the bunch so far. As in the previous novels written by this author it deals with the theme of loneliness. In a nutshell the story is an observation of occupants within a small row of buildings in a coastal fishing town. I could warm to all the characters in this novel even Mrs Bracey, who from the outset could be seen as a nosy busybody, however as the story developed I really sympathised for her having to spend ...more
Leslie
Taylor is one of the least sentimental writers I know, and that's a good thing because sentimentality irritates the crap out of me. She knows people are pretty sad and messed up and shallow and selfish and foolish most of the time, and she sees them with a steely clarity that can be a bit disconcerting at times. She also feels no compunction to tidy up all her narrative threads; there are no clear answers or tidy conclusions in this book, just people muddling on with things. As we do (but as fic ...more
Radiantfracture
Miraculous technique. The sweep of the lighthouse becomes the mover of the novel. It compels the structure -- a series of fluidly interlinked scenes from lives in a backwater of the British coast -- and the circling progression of the novel. There's something of Woolf in the structure, though not in the wonderfully wrought but conventional prose.

I did not always find the psychology of the characters compelling, but the novel's quiet, shifting movement fascinated me throughout.
Priscilla
How beautifully crafted and rich this book is! It is a rare pleasure to read Elizabeth Taylor's novels. I am committed to going back and reading those I've already read. A real joy to read such subtle writing.
Teresa
3.75
It doesn't seem like very much happens in this book, but it actually does. It's my kind of book, but it left me quite empty, so that's why three stars. I enjoyed Taylor's writing and I look forward to reading other novels by her but...
This novel is about a small town in the coast, now in decay, and it starts with the arrival of Bertram Hemingway – a former sailor and now fully dedicated to painting, without much success –to this little town. I really loved how Taylor describes de characters
...more
David
Sometimes you want to read a straightforward, down-to-earth, unpretentious novel, and this is such a book. Carefully drawn portraits of unremarkable people in an unremarkable seaside town form the backbone of an entirely remarkable novel. The writing is quiet and subdued, but gradually draws the reader into its world. The theme of art and artistry is woven through the book, as well as the pervading beauty of loneliness. Although this book has very little in common with The Waves, it shares Woolf ...more
Suzie Grogan
This is a wonderful book. Elizabeth Taylor deserves to be more widely read - particularly by anyone who enjoys Barbara Pym, Anita Brookner or even Jane Austen - so acutely does she observe her characters and with such biting humour. There are no earth shattering events in this novel; it is more an observation of a small community in a decaying seaside town and the effect the arrival of one elderly man has on the small group Taylor focuses on. Even that slightly overstates it - he simply provides ...more
Jenny
This is an interesting book to read.
It is set in a Cornish harbour town not long after the second world war.
It portrays a picture of a certain time.
It is fairly slow moving but I suspect the characters will stay with me for a long time.
Elizabeth Taylor is a good author and if you like her perhaps more well known books then you will also like to read this to find out more about her as an author.

(possible mild spoiler in next sentence if you havent read the book)...........

I like the ending at the
...more
Chefalan30
Fabulous !! Had me belly laughing !!! As stevie said. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it !! Lol !!!
KJ
Excellent! Have been meaning to read Elizabeth Taylor for years and am so glad that I did finally get round to it. This is a fabulous masterclass in brilliant writing. Of all the 35-ish books I've read this year, this is probably the most elegantly written, while remaining totally accessible.

The lives of a group of people in a small seaside town just after WWII might not seem the most promising material with which to work, but in Taylor's expert hands it sings.

Anyone considering a career in wri
...more
Kirsty Darbyshire

Nothing wrong with this, it just took me a long time to read it. It didn't hold my attention enough to get through it at any reasonable pace, and it wasn't uninteresting enough to put down. Faint praise I know. There was one very good storyline with good characters: Tory having an affair with her best friend Beth's husband, and Beth's daughter Prudence's take on it; and another storyline with Maisie and her dying mother that didn't go anywhere much that I could see - the book didn't quite seem t

...more
Karen
The more I read of Elizabeth Taylor the more I like her. Sharply-drawn portraits of all characters, vivid details of everyday life, are all rendered superbly. The novel opens quite cinematically with an overview of all the residences on the harbour and all the inhabitants of those places comprise the story of one season. Just marvelous.
Gareth Evans
Barbara Pym with far sharper claws and somewhat (only somewhat this is 1940s highbrow women's fiction after all) racier characters. Really quite depressing (in a good way). Would make a good plot for an opera for sub standard Benjamin Brittain.
Nimbex
Al principio se hace un poco lento y aburrido pero a medida que avanza te vas familiarizando poco a poco con las vidas de los vecinos de los habitantes del puerto hasta que, al final, no puedes dejar de leer. Los personajes están muy bien dibujados, me han parecido muy reales y cercanos.
Sue Scott
Didn't get on with this at all. Beautifully written, characters well drawn but they didn't engage me at all and I had no interest in what happened to them. A shame because I wanted to like Elizabeth Taylor very much.
Rebecca
British author Elizabeth Taylor describes a downtrodden seaside and tells the stories of a writer, her divorced best friend, a girl on the verge of womanhood, an old woman, her daughter and a couple of men.
Lauren
May 16, 2012 Lauren rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Wesley P, Amy S Freas
Shelves: worthrereading
I'm not going to go on and on about Taylor- suffice to say that I love her books and i'm always happy when reading one. I wish she was better known.
Alison Shakspeare
Elizabeth Taylor needs to be shouted about. A twentieth century Jane Austen! and so say all my book group.
Lela
Vintage Elizabeth Taylor. Lots of passion, lots of pain, star-crossed lovers, betrayal, old age and youth.
Dianne Hosking
This was written in the 1940's. So well written, not too long, a simple nice book.
Jana
Feb 29, 2012 Jana marked it as to-read
Tracked down a used copy to read along with Musings (book blog) for March.
Luann
This one started slowly for me -- but was well worth sticking with.
Catharine
People need to rediscover this wonderful author.
Lara Maynard
Lara Maynard marked it as to-read
Dec 14, 2014
Lovisa
Lovisa marked it as to-read
Dec 05, 2014
Louise Smith
Louise Smith marked it as to-read
Nov 25, 2014
Jacqui Lademann
Jacqui Lademann marked it as to-read
Nov 21, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 14 15 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Tortoise and the Hare
  • The Echoing Grove
  • The Sugar House
  • One Fine Day
  • The Land of Spices
  • Our Spoons Came from Woolworths
  • Miss Mole (A Virago modern classic)
  • Letty Fox: Her Luck
  • The Constant Nymph
  • The Crowded Street
  • City of the Mind
  • Summer Half
  • The Friendly Young Ladies
  • The Rising Tide
  • The Pastor's Wife
  • The Fortnight in September
53241
Elizabeth Taylor (née Coles) was a popular English novelist and short story writer. Elizabeth Coles was born in Reading, Berkshire in 1912. She was educated at The Abbey School, Reading, and worked as a governess, as a tutor and as a librarian.

In 1936, she married John Micael, a businessman. She lived in Penn, Buckinghamshire, for almost all her married life.

Her first novel, At Mrs. Lippincote's,
...more
More about Elizabeth Taylor...
Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont Angel In a Summer Season At Mrs Lippincote's A Game of Hide and Seek (Virago Modern Classics)

Share This Book

“The most sensible thing to do to people you hate is to drink their brandy.” 17 likes
More quotes…