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In a Summer Season
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In a Summer Season

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  272 ratings  ·  39 reviews
Kate Heron, a wealthy, charming widow, has married a man ten years her junior, the attractive and feckless Dermot. Their special love arms them against the disapproval of conservative friends and neighbors—until the return of Kate's old friend Charles, intelligent, kind, and now widowed with a beautiful daughter. At first Kate watches happily as the two families are drawn...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published June 1st 1983 by Virago Modern Classics (first published January 28th 1961)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 559)
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Ali
I loved this novel when I first read it, and I still love it now having re-read it for the Librarything readalong of Elizabeth Taylor, and the beginning of All Virago all August. I had remembered it very well though, so the ending (which I’ll say no more about) is much less dramatic when one knows what’s coming.
In Kate we have a typical Elizabeth Taylor character - one of the especially likeable ones who I imagine is very like Elizabeth Taylor was herself. Kate is a middle aged woman with two c...more
Kate
Taylor is my reading equivalent of 'comfort food'. In a Summer Season is one book I could read over and over. Marvellous characters, light humour and just the right number of twists and turns in the plot. Read my full review here - http://booksaremyfavouriteandbest.wor...
Sonia
I shall start by answering the question that everyone who has seen me reading the book has asked. No, it is not ‘THE’ Elizabeth Taylor. It was written by Elizabeth Taylor the novelist (obviously) who was lived 1912-1975 and wrote a number of books and short stories.

In A Summer Season was first published in 1961 I believe (I have loaned the book to my mate, so don’t have it to hand to refer to!) but to be honest, unless you knew that, I think you’d be hard-placed to date it, as there are barely a...more
Nimbex
El estilo es similar al de Una vista del puerto pero, a diferencia de lo que me pasó con aquel, con "En el verano" no me ha costado nada meterme en la historia y en seguida me he familiarizado con los personajes. Por lo demás hay muchos paralelismos entre ambos y aunque he terminado disfrutando mucho los dos, si tuviera que escoger uno me quedaría con éste. Tengo muchas ganas de seguir leyendo cosas de Elizabeth Taylor, me encanta su estilo y aunque sus historias son en términos del argumento y...more
Wfpope
A very subtle, quiet book. I love Taylor's writing because what she omits is just as important as what she includes. Taylor is an example of why I continuously return to English writers.
Ms Miaow
Another really enjoyable read from Elizabeth Taylor.
I love her accurate and witty depictions of typically English middle class life in the home counties.
If people are expecting action on every page,sorry but you're reading the wrong book,you've missed the point entirely and don't get what Elizabeth Taylor and her subtle style of writing is all about.

I have to say I found the odd provocative moments a bit of a surprise in an Elizabeth Taylor novel! And I wonder if she put these in to keep up with...more
Rina
only read this if you are a fan of English insipidness, disjointed conversation with the story ending only being lifted by a somewhat crisp ending.
Suzie Grogan
I have recently discovered Elizabeth Taylor - her acute observations of middle class 50's and 60's England are both entertaining and emotionally affecting.

She is much neglected. Anyone who enjoys Barbara Pym, Anita Brookner or even Jane Austen will find a lot to admire in this book. Hardly plot-driven, it is however a story of one summer in the life of a woman who has somewhat lost her way in the wake of the death of her first husband, quickly marrying a much younger man.

The ending is surprisin...more
Rita
1961. Another good book by Taylor. Rather wide-ranging; occasionally I feel she might have deleted some minor characters or seemingly irrelevant bits about them.

In all three books of Taylor's that I have read this week [they are all quite short:] there is a young woman who seems to be what I suppose could be called a nymphomaniac. She attracts many men, both young and old, and none of them are able to observe clear signs of her having any feelings for them, one way or another. She is congenial a...more
Nicole Hale
I discovered Taylor because of the Virago publications, and this is the second I have read from her. In this book, we spend time with a family that has reestablished a tentative calm after the death of the husband/father of the household. Kate, the widow, has fallen in love and remarried Dermot, an aimless man much younger than herself. Her son, Tom, surprised her by bonding with her new husband, and she isn't always happy about the outcome of their close relationship. Kate's daughter, on the ot...more
Suzanne
I'm branching out from Victorian love-affair dramas to 20th-century love-affair dramas. The book was not as melodramatic as promised; it's more about the dynamic between young, old, and dead folks in platonic, familial and romantic relationships, with occasional melodrama thrown in to keep me happy. It started off slow, but both the plot and the character development gathered steam around the halfway mark. The end was a virtual action-film finale sequence compared to the beginning. The presumed...more
Karen
It has been so wonderful to find Elizabeth Taylor. My poor mother and sister urged me to read her novels but I never got round to it. This year, I did.
This is one of the best novels that I have read. The writing is both descriptive and crisp. The characters in a novel are always hugely important to me and the characters in this novel are entirely credible and, despite their evidence of human frailty, likeable. The irritations and frustrations that they arouse are tempered by writing that shows a...more
Steve
Elizabeth Taylor had a good ear and eye for character interaction and motivation. This quiet study of an English family in the mid-twentieth century reminds me keenly of some of the better books set a century earlier. Her studies of class and economic and social strata remind me of Jane Austen or Henry James or, yes, Charles Dickens. Our main character Kate is a middle-age widow who has married a man much younger (and less affluent) than she is, but the book also includes a cast of interesting f...more
Gareth Evans
If book reviews boiled down to a single word, 'In a Summer Season' is perhaps best described as 'ennui'. Almost all the characters, even those in gainful employment, seem to be filling in time before they die. This is not to say that there is not much to enjoy. Taylor writes well and her ambling plot has a fitting denouement. Super stuff.
zespri
About 10 years ago I discovered Elizabeth Taylor and scoured obscure libraries and second hand book shops to obtain her books to read.

All I can say is that I loved her then, and I love her still! Sounds like a line from something or somewhere but is completely my own sentiment!!

Having just re-read "In a summer season" it was as much fun as the first time, and I was so glad I had forgotten most of it!

Elizabeth Taylor's characters don't do an awful lot, but the dialogue is delightful, and i chuck...more
Nancy
Aug 14, 2008 Nancy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nancy by: Gerry
This quietly provocative book has sat in my "to read" pile for several months and avoided because of the jacket's summary of the novel. The plot summary doesn't do justice to this interesting character study of a prosperous, but unsettled, British family.

All of the characters are mildly dissatisfied with something in their life and that creates the interest, or tension, in the novel. In A Summer Season reminds me a bit of Evan S. Connell's book, Mrs. Bridge:portraits of prosperous, well-respecte...more
Jane
But will keep reading everything she has written...
Pascale
Like everything I've read by this author, it makes for addictive reading because of all the beautifully crafter characters and scenes of domestic life and strife. However, it felt more formulaic than her best efforts, with characters like the spinster aunt a bit too "obvious". However, the major flaw is the ending where the no-good husband and the too-beautiful young woman are conveniently killed off to allow the more sympathetic middle-aged characters to marry, as they should have done in the f...more
Ashley
I've been wanting to read one of Elizabeth Taylor's novels for awhile, and this one is said to be one of her best. It was well-written and very, very English, but I just didn't love any of the characters. I did like all of the 1960s-ish domestic details--especially the main character's disdain for her cook's preference for serving American-style food--everything was served with a ring of pineapple on it.
Geert Bonamie
Could only have been written by a woman. Such wonderful observations!
Hilary Hicklin
I seem to have started with the best Elizabeth Taylor novel (Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont) as this was one, like the last I read, didn't measure up to those extremely high standards. Well written and sharply observant of the subtle interplay in intimate relationships, it nevertheless lack the wit and poignancy of Mrs P.
Bev
Easy to read and characters well drawn but didn't really get the point of this book until very near the end. Found the constant transition between what characters are thinking and what they are saying very confusing. Although Kate seemingly has a perfect life she is not happy and nor would I be in her situation.
Jennifer
I really enjoyed this novel, and I'm not sure why I had never heard of Elizabeth Taylor before. She's brilliant, and I want to read more. I love how nimbly she switches the point of view in this book and how realistically she portrays all of her characters.
Barb
"A typically English woman, I should say--young for her age, rather inhibited (heretofore), too satirical, with one half of her mind held back always to observe and pass judgment." A description of Kate. The same could be said of Elizabeth.
Umbereen Beg-mirza
Surprisingly good. Nothing much happens but it captures a certain period and way of being so well. Written with such sensibility. It was the perfect read for the weekend spent in a small sleepy town by the water.
Lauren Albert
I can't really do justice in a review since I waited too long to write one and have read too many books since! But I can say that it was the first Taylor book I've read and I would definitely read more.
Susan
Sad, well done and somewhat predictable satire of unhappy rich of the Thames Valley in the early 1960's. Taylor's skill is in shifting points of view.
Dean Jarvis
The book was interesting, but kept bouncing around on different characters - it was too short to have so many stories to keep in my head
Susan
So glad to discover this author...now I will look for her other books. Great characters, not much happens but powerful in its quiet way.
Sheila Woofter
Very unique book. Skilled writing. I never heard of this writer before, but will look into her other works.
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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 At Mrs Lippincote's A Game of Hide and Seek (Virago Modern Classics) A View of the Harbour

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