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3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  109 ratings  ·  22 reviews
When newly-orphaned Cassandra Dashwood arrives as governess to little Sophy, the scene seems set for the archetypal romance between young girl and austere widowed employer. But conventions are subverted. Cassandra is to discover that in real life, tragedy, comedy and acute embarrassment are never far apart.
Kindle Edition, 207 pages
Published September 2011 by Hachette Digital (first published 1946)
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I seldom comment on other reviews of the books I read but I did want to say that I received Palladian much differently than some of the reviewers here. I do not find it to be satirical or derivative. I believe Taylor may have been interested in examining the circumstances of the young girl left with the choice of governess in a closed environment working for and experiencing unusual family members. Many significant women's writers were writing about what our options were in mid 20th century or e...more
Cassandra Dashwood, at the age of eighteen is quiet, bookish and, dare I say, a little dull. And, after her father’s recent death, she is alone in the world.

Fortunately Mrs. Turner, her former headmistress, takes an interest in Cassandra, and finds her a post: Marion Vanbrugh is a widower with a young daughter, Sophy, and he needs a governess.

It was so, so easy for Cassandra to cast herself and Jane Eyre and Marion as Mr Rochester.

But reality would prove to be a little different.

Marion was as qu...more
What a weird little book. Partially a traditional English-governess-falls-for-the-head-of-the-house narrative, partially a commentary on class distinctions and cultural divisions as they fell apart and realigned in the 1940s, partially a series of thoughts on relationships and how people can work together even through and after a terrible history. The use of anachronism as a device is really interesting.
Brilliant and subtle. Should be read alongside Waugh's Brideshead Revisited for any attempt to understand the postwar decline of the British upper class and the rifts in the middle and working classes. It's a Victorian novel that's been squeezed and distorted -- as England has been squeezed and distorted by the conflicts and changes of the 20th century.
When newly-orphaned Cassandra Dashwood arrives as governess to little Sophy, the scene seems set for the archetypal romance between young girl and austere widowed employer. But conventions are subverted. Cassandra is to discover that in real life, tragedy, comedy and acute embarrassment are never far apart.
1.5* Good writing, lackluster plot. Just not my kind of book, really. Any comparison to Jane Eyre verges on the ludicrous. I don't mean to be harsh - and I would try another of E.T.'s books - it's the subject matter rather than the writing, I think. Not for me.
Una novela clásica al mejor estilo de Jane Austen

«Incluso antes de verle o de hablar con él, Cassandra había decidido amarle, como una institutriz en una novela. Conocerle simplemente había confirmado su intención, había hecho posibles sus esperanzas».

La joven Cassandra está sola en el mundo después de la muerte de su padre. Cuando llega a Cropthorne Manor como institutriz de la pequeña Sophy, la desgastada mansión y las decadentes estatuas de la propiedad son exactamente como esperaba. Y Marion...more
Palladian is essentially a hodge-podge of Jane Eyre, Rebecca and Jane Austen. While Austen is certainly acerbic and nettling in regards to her wit, Elizabeth Taylor is all the more abrasive in this novel. Palladian reads like a satire of good gothic fiction. In effect, Taylor morphs the hauntingly dark, brooding male lead and makes him almost effeminate in appearance, complete with long spindly hands. And while, there is a brooding male in this story, who draws macabre anatomical drawings that r...more
This was Elizabeth Taylor’s second novel. Published in 1946, it is quite a strange little novel. The writing is – as I have to expect from Elizabeth Taylor – beautiful, spare, with everything minutely observed. There are moments, when I found some of the conversation between characters, particularly Marion Vanbrugh and Cassandra a little too intense – and less convincing than I usually find Elizabeth Taylor’s interactions between her characters. However generally the characterisation is lovely,...more
Lauren Albert
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I enjoyed this book but, like I'd been warned, it was highly derivative. And although that is clearly intentional on the part of the author, it irritated me. Perhaps partly because I love Jane Eyre (and various other works!) so much. I also found it quite hard to relate to the characters. They were quite interesting in an objective way, but I didn't feel particularly emotional about the various ups and downs of their lives.

It was a well written book telling a relatively interesting story, but it...more
The writing is marvelous--beautiful prose with a sharp eye for the unexpectedly revealing detail-- but I was disappointed in Palladian overall. There is a strong element of pastiche--Jane Eyre set in Northgranger Abbey--and the unreality of the pastiche situation conflicted with the realistic descriptions and elements. The secondary characters and setting were clearly drawn, while the principals, Cassandra and Marion, were less realized, as though the background of the picture was sharp and the...more
First of all, the blurb on goodreads describes another novel. In this one, Cassandra becomes a governess to Sophy, who was the engaging character in the novel. Sophy is part of a rather dysfunctional family headed by vague and anxious Aunt Tinty. Sophy's father Marion shelters in the library as the home crumbles around him. I hated the climax and wanted to throw the book across the room. However, the novel was a worthwhile for beautiful writing, unusual characters and as a riff on Austen and Bro...more
Suzie Grogan
My favourite author, and even in this early work her wonderful insight, gentle with and pathos are all there. Cassandra, recently orphaned, goes to the mansion home of Marion Vanburgh to become governess to his daughter. It references, deliberately, Jane Eyre, Northanger Abbey and perhaps even a little of Rebecca but it is still entirely original and it offers surprises, shocks and sadnesses that make it a book that remains with you after the last page has turned.
Helen Kitson
Cassandra goes to work as a governess. She marries her employer shortly after his child, Sophy, is killed. There are hints of Austen (the heroine's name - Cassandra Dashwood) and Bronte (orphaned governess, older educated man with a young daughter). If it's a parody, however, it's an affectionate one. [Jan 2004]
Un libro extraño pero con algunos pasajes muy bellos y evocadores. Aunque tiene un tono y ambientación en algunos momentos muy góticos y decadentes, muy ingleses por otro lado, creo que las referencias literarias que se citan en la portada no son acertadas.

Seguramente repetiré con esta autora
I can see the influence of Austen, Charlotte Bronte and du Maurier, but Taylor puts her own spin on all of it. All her characters, major and minor, are fully fleshed. This combines the expected and unexpected in a unique way. (LuAnn, want to talk over in the Virago group?)
A very strange little novel about a "Jane Eyre" type character who falls in love with the owner of a crumbling British estate. More interesting are the rest of his family who lives with him and the secrets that have been kept. I like anything Elizabeth Taylor writes.
Interesting little novel, tweaking gothic conventions and governess stories while invoking the spirit of Jane Austen. The depiction of peripheral characters was especially sharp and funny. Need to read more Elizabeth Taylor.
Rohan Maitzen
What a strange and grim and yet somehow elegant book this is. I hardly know what I think about it or how to read it!
Here's my review of this book.
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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)

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