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Illyrian Spring

3.99  ·  Rating Details  ·  113 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
"She lay in bed, listening to the nightingales and the river under her window, and asking herself with a sort of exasperated astonishment whether she could really be falling in love with Nicholas."

Even though she is a renowned painter Lady Kilmichael is diffident and sad. her remote, brilliant husband has no time for her and she feels she only exasperates her delightful, h
Paperback, Virago Modern Classics, 353 pages
Published May 17th 1990 by Virago Press Ltd (first published 1935)
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Arpita (BagfullofBooks)
Nov 30, 2015 Arpita (BagfullofBooks) rated it really liked it
This book is a part travelogue, part love story set in 1930’s Croatia, along the picturesque Dalmatian Coast. World-renowned artist, thirty-eight year old Lady Kilmachael, the wife of an eminent economist and mother to three grown-up children, leaves her family and all that she holds dear and escapes to Venice and Croatia’s remote Dalmatian Coast. She fears for her marriage, suspecting her husband of embarking on a possible affair and also is saddened by the strained relationship she has with he ...more
Jun 18, 2012 Ali rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a member of the Virago group on LibraryThing – much mentioned on this and other blogs of late, I would often hear, of the incredible difficulty in getting hold of a green copy of Illyrian Spring by Ann Bridge. Green edition or not though – I really wanted to read it, and so was delighted to learn recently of a new edition being published by Daunt books. I ordered it immediately, and was impressed upon its arrival with the attractive high quality of this lovely new edition. In fact when I was ...more
This was a delight to read. It was especially pleasurable coming on the heels of Joyce Carey's much less happy and well-adjusted painter. Two normal, fairly happy artists; I think I prefer this vision of art.

The plot, of course, is ridiculous, but it doesn't matter and it's not the point. The point is something about happiness and freedom and self-confidence (not to be confused with the damaging pride). It's also one of those great books about something that doesn't happen instead of something t
Sep 15, 2015 Sylvester rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
It's a funny one, it really is. I mean, on the one hand it's a complete fantasy - a mother, feeling unappreciated, goes off on a painting trip (oh yes, she's a successful painter too) without telling her family where she's going. She wanders around Venice, looking at art and running into a young man who also happens to paint and who joins her in traveling and painting and understands her like her family never has...
All of which is fun to read, but not a bit like real life.

On the other hand, thi
Sally Tarbox
"Freedom is within. It does not live in Dalmatia any more than in London", June 21, 2015

This review is from: Illyrian Spring (Kindle Edition)
This is an absolutely charming light read which will have you booking a holiday to Croatia.
Written in 1935 it is the story of well-to-do artist Grace Kilmichael who is 'running away' from her family to decide what to do next. Her economist husband seems to belittle her and her work (and perhaps to be getting overly friendly with a female colleague) while h
Dec 17, 2012 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A middle-aged English woman who is also a part-time artist, at odds with her family, escapes on a working vacation to draw and paint on the Dalmatia coast and befriends a young man who is also struggling with his life. The places, people and landscapes are so well described, it's like taking a vacation of your own, and the main characters's struggles with their life problems and relationships are realistically and sensitively portrayed. Charming, but also serious. Very much of its time (1935) in ...more
It was all so lovely and promising (at one point it seemed like there might be a flower-filled-field kiss, a la A Room with a View) but then all the coincidences at the end piled up and got a little too convenient and cliched :( Does make me want to go to Croatia, though!
May 26, 2014 Jeffrey rated it really liked it a warm bath and with scented oil...

Look, this is of its age. But this writer was a best seller in her day. Lady K leaves husband and child because she feels unwanted and useless - oh, and all those servants too, you have to overlook that - and yet she is a famous painter in her own right.

She flees to the Dalmatian coast -like you do - where she meets a young man, her own class of course, and he is grumpy and wants to paint and you can guess the rest - as she is still lovely in he
Michael Cayley
Feb 16, 2014 Michael Cayley rated it really liked it
A novel about a female painter who feels trapped in an unsatisfactory marriage and takes time out from it in Illyria. On the way she meets a much younger man and most of the novel is about their evolving relationship and how it leads the painter to discover a lot about herself. This is a delightful book, full of emotional insight. I have given it four rather than five stars because, particularly in the first half, there is rather too much loving description of places for my taste - a few pages r ...more
Apr 09, 2013 Abigail rated it it was amazing

I have a weakness for what I still call 'women's books' -- what's now called 'chick lit' I think. The 'chick lit' of the 20s and 30s down to the 50s, to be precise. Not handkerchief wringers like Edna Ferber (usually), but the sophisticated ones like Anne Bridge and Margery Sharp for the Brits or Eleanor Mercein for the Yanks. Before she went off on Cold War spy fiction in the Fifties, Anne Bridge wrote wonderful books of this kind, often replete with wonderful travel details. I think this is th
Jul 14, 2015 Joey rated it it was amazing
This is a lovely read. I read it whilst travelling around the coast near Dubrovnik where the majority of the story takes place. It is easy to imagine Lady K and Nicholas going about their painting amongst the beautiful scenery. Highly recommend!
May 04, 2013 Janet rated it liked it
This funny little book (or odd, as Bridge herself would have said), is dated in 1935 when lady Grace Kilmichael runs away from her husband and family to explore the Adriatic. I rather enjoyed this book but had some trouble reading the lengthy descriptions of landscape, churches, works of art etc. Grace Kilmichael is charming enough though. Her insights in herself and young Nicholas, whom she meets along the way, are at the same time outrageous and wise. This book makes you long for a holiday and ...more
Oct 24, 2011 Jessica rated it it was amazing
When I read fiction, it's normally of the romance or sword & sorcery varieties, so when a friend recommended I try this, I was a bit dubious. A middle-aged coming-of-age story / fictional travelogue, really? But, I decided to trust her and - oh, I'm so glad I did! This is such a lovely book.

The descriptions of Grace's travels are beautifully, crisply done and the characters themselves are all quite charming. The perspective of the writer/narrator displays such grace, maturity, and unexpected
May 29, 2013 Catherine rated it really liked it
Written in 1935, this is the story of a well-born English woman fleeing her unappreciative family who take her for granted and constantly belittle her. She takes off for Illyria (Dalmation Coast/Yugoslavia) to paint without telling anyone where she is going and where she has plenty of adventures. Lyrical descriptions of the coast. I must go see this area. I wonder if it's still as idyllic as she depicts it.
Sep 08, 2012 Rachel added it
Loved it. An inspirational exploration of how to deal with headstrong children while attempting to hold onto/discover yourself, camoflauged cleverly in alluring discriptions of places and settings. It made me want to take the very same trip and see what she saw.
Elaine Post
Jan 01, 2014 Elaine Post rated it really liked it
Though written in the 30's this novel still has lots of relevance. I enjoyed it for the insight it gave me into how far women have come...and how far we still have to go. Plus it's a lovely travel fantasy; nothing wrong with that!
Mar 06, 2014 Bettie☯ marked it as wish-list
to find

Nov 21, 2012 Martine rated it really liked it

A beautiful many insightful and entirely still relevant views on human nature.
Jun 18, 2016 Miranda rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
4.5 stars. A wise, poignant little jewel in deceptively frivolous packaging.
Oct 22, 2013 Franny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
good insight of psychological conundrums related to love.
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Mid twentieth-century novelist [real name, Mary Anne O'Malley] who began by exploiting the milieu of the British Foreign Office community in Peking, China, where she lived for two years with her diplomat husband. Her novels combine courtship plots with vividly-realised settings and demure social satire.

She went on to write novels which take as the background of their protagonists' emotional lives
More about Ann Bridge...

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“What is freedom? It consists in two things: to know each his own limitations and accept them – that is the same thing as to know oneself, and accept oneself as one is, without fear, or envy, or distaste; and to recognise and accept the conditions under which one lives, also without fear or envy, or distaste. When you do this, you shall be free.” 5 likes
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