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Mary Lavelle

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  82 ratings  ·  7 reviews
The year is 1922 and Mary Lavelle, an Irish girl, leaves her family and fiance in Mellick to become a governess in Spain. Little by little Mary loses her heart to the enchantment of Spain. And when she meets Juanito, the married son of the household, she loses her heart to him.
Paperback, 368 pages
Published January 1st 2006 by Virago Press Ltd (first published 1936)
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Alisa
Wow. This was really good.

The start was slow and contemplative, but then all of the doom started rushing in. It made my heart hurt.

I loved the non-typical, non-romantic setting of Northern industrial Spain. All the characters say repeatedly how ugly it is, how dirty, without charm.

I loved the supporting characters, the phlegmatic and understanding Don Pablo (why isn't he my friend, my father?), the cerebral uncanny Milagros, the bitter circle of other Irish 'misses', and the bitter unbending Co
...more
Caitrin Glavin
Couldn't put this down at its final third, every twist towards the end was another brilliant revelation and the ending was like my other favourite novels- Brighton rock, gone with the wind, a farewell to arms, your totally caught up in thinking what will happen next to these brilliantly drawn characters. Loved the sketches of awful middle class irish 'ladies' misses having tea and grumbling too!
Heidi L.
I read this book awhile ago because I had seen this movie cover at the video store and was intrigued by it. This is a case where the movie is so much better than the book! I loved the movie -- so romantic, and probably because it is set in Spain and has a lot of Spanish in it with English subtitles (I think Spanish is such a romantic language!) Anyway, after loving the movie, I sought out the book hoping to read more of the plot and character development, but was left very disappointed. The stor ...more
Damhnait Dennis
Amazing! Gorgeous piece of literature, truly a thing of fragile beauty. Effortlessly brilliant, once you read Kate O'Brien your attitude to reading and your way of looking at literature and at life will be turned upside down. I was introduced to Kate O'Brien's work in Spain and once I read one of her novels I couldn't stop until I'd read everything I could find by her. She wrote about women, and women's lives and choices at a time when literature did not really concern itself with women. She als ...more
Elizabeth
Adored this book so much, and this genre typically isn't my favourite. The use of language is beautiful and unique.
However, this review is slightly bias, as O'Brien is from my home town, where she is seldom recognised.
I shall be definitely reading more of O'Brien's work.
A. Mary
Almost tame by contemporary standards, this novel was banned in Ireland. This is the story of an Irish governess in Spain, a young woman who is content for the most part, until she experiences a sudden and life-changing awakening.
Mariya
Aug 12, 2010 Mariya marked it as to-read
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90374
From Wikipedia: Kate O'Brien (3 December 1897 - 13 August 1974), was an Irish novelist and playwright. After the success of her play, Distinguished Villa in 1926, she took to full-time writing and was awarded the 1931 James Tait Black Prize for her novel Without My Cloak. She is best known for her 1934 novel The Ante-Room, her 1941 novel The Land of Spices and the 1946 novel That Lady. Many of her ...more
More about Kate O'Brien...
The Land of Spices The Ante-Room That Lady Without My Cloak As Music And Splendour

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