Consequences
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Consequences

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  75 ratings  ·  19 reviews
EM Delafield is best-known as the author of The Diary of a Provincial Lady (1930). But her favourite among her books was Consequences (1919), the deeply-felt novel she wrote about the plight of girls given no opportunities apart from marriage.

Alex Clare is awkward and oversensitive and gets everything wrong; she refuses to marry the only young man who ‘offers’ and believes...more
Paperback, 421 pages
Published 2000 by Persephone Books (first published 1919)
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Margaret
Consequences is quite different in tone from the Provincial Lady books, much more somber, yet it also deals with women's constricted lives and how they deal with them. It's not a cheerful read, as Alex, the heroine, goes through much suffering, but a thoughtful and perceptive one. She's hard to like, being rather a neurotic wimp, but it's equally hard not to feel sympathy and pity for her, trapped in a society she's unsuited for. I've read reviews wishing for a more spirited heroine, but surely...more
Linda Gillard
An extraordinary book. I'm at a loss to know how Delafield makes such an unsympathetic young heroine so interesting and so moving. There's little to admire in the shallow & socially inadequate Alex, but the compelling quality of Delafield's writing draws the reader into her tragic story bit by painful bit, so that eventually you feel as if you're watching some catastrophe happen in slow motion. The end seems inevitable, but nonetheless appalling for that. (Imagine a Greek Tragedy crossed wit...more
Sela Still
This is a beautifully written account of a young girl who is unable to fit into the conventional mould demanded by her family and social class. A prickly, difficult personality with no leavening of humour to lighten her circumstances, Alex finds her only relief in the crushes she develops on friends at school and various acquaintances. Her feelings of devotion to the Superior of a local convent lead her to enter the order but her vocation lasts only as long as the object of her devotion remains...more
Kathryn
I found this book to be extremely depressing. I don't have a problem reading tragedies, but honestly, I just didn't feel enough sympathy for the character to make the whole thing work for me. However, I readily admit that I have a difficult time connecting with characters like that of Alex, who don't really seem to try anything to help themselves. I understand the time period and the social restrictions on women and have read extensively from that period, but my own spirit and energy being so di...more
Anne
Another splendid reprint by Persephone. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, despite wanting to beat the protagonist repeatedly with a blunt object. The author implies that Alex is the way she is because of the way she was raised. However, her two sisters turned out all right. She is, quite simply, a moron (although that may be my 21st century take on things). She is incapable of doing anything right, has zero confidence (entirely understandable) and basically needs to be taken by the hand. I had li...more
Katherine
Mar 29, 2012 Katherine added it
Shelves: persephone
I just finished Consequences by E.M Delafield, better known for Diary of a Provincial Lady and have been thinking about it ever since. It is a strongly autobiographical novel. E.M. Delafield also was raised in a respectable although not as wealth as they appeared family at the end of the Victorian age. She was brought out into society, expected to find a husband and make a good match, and failed to live up to expectations. Like her main character, Alex, she also entered a convent for a time and...more
Linda K
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Jennifer
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Gabriele Wills
Delafield expertly weaves a tragic tale of a Victorian girl who can't find a place in her prohibitive and prescriptive world. But Alex Clare is more than an individual seeking love and acceptance who is failed by her family, society, and even her church. She is symbolic of the women of that era, who had no power over their lives, no choices except in which man would be the least difficult to endure as a husband. Delafield is scathing in her depiction of a world ripe for social change, even uphea...more
Danielle
Consequences is the story of Alex Clare who we meet as a young girl learning to play a game of the same name. Alex learns to play the game quickly and wants to show her siblings her way of playing. While we see that she quickly gets the childhood game, she remains perplexed about the life of grown-ups and what she later sees as a mockery of personal closeness for which she desires. The inability or refusal to play this game of navigating through society is of course inexcusable (particularly for...more
Rosemary
The story of Alexandra Clare who is sensitive, eager to please and has overwhelming passions for other girls and women - therefore doesn't fit in to late Victorian society in at all the way that her parents expect. Unfortunately, she keeps trying, and makes some bad mistakes.

It's a tragic book, not at all like Diary Of A Provincial Lady, and I found it very moving. Alex tries desperately to conform but the more desperate she becomes, the less everybody likes her. Her dilemma is that she can't b...more
Laura
Free download available at Project Gutenberg.
Melinda Nelsen
Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE the books from Persephone books. This one was no exception. Another turn-of-the century tale about society and social roles, particulary of women. To quote the Persephone site about this book: "a scream of horror against Victorian values; however, its ironic tone cannot disguise EM Delafield's deeply compassionate and feminist stance. The book has provoked strong reactions from our readers. Some have found Alex's naivety implausible, others have been very much mo...more
Mary
Poor little Alex Clare, a story of a thwarted life where Alex never really fitted in.
Branded as the black sheep of the family.
She breaks off her engagement to an eligable man as she couldn't bear the thought of being married to him.
She then turned to God and became a Nun but failed to find her place and ends by giving up her vows!
She returns an outcast who just didn't fit in and had no place in society.
She had failed in life which she took by drowning herself.
I did so feel for Alex and found thi...more
Helen Stanton
I loved the book and have been think inning about it before writing a review. I had read Diaries of a Provincial Lady before which are hilarious ..... This is a v different proposition . In part it is based on the authors own experience of being raised in a strict late Victorian home .....but luckily for E M Deldafield WW1 came along , shaking up women's lives forever. It really made me think of the sexual revolution , which we tend to think happened in the 60s...but most of all Alex's story is...more
Michael
Oct 13, 2012 Michael rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Meaghan, maybe.
Shelves: audio, 1910s
A sleeping classic, beautifully written, exploring a kind of life and personality that is rarely seen in fiction. Defiant of any genre conventions, and not especially cheerful -- although not as sad as it might be. Impassive yet humane.
Sarah Artt


A devastating tragic novel by an author better known for her comic works. Thankfully the glorious people at Persephone Books have re-published this. An acutely observed character study of a woman trapped by her upbringing and religion.
Willa
Brilliant account of the conundrum of Victorian women - but strangely relevant in our times! (how disconcerting is that...)
Carol Eshaghy
I love the Persephone books, but they are so darn sad. Has anyone else read this one? Would be good for a book club.
Elizabeth
This is a truly miserable story, but still a rewarding read.
Susan
Such a painful story.
Antoinette
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Edmée Elizabeth Monica Dashwood, née de la Pasture (9 June 1890 – 2 December 1943), commonly known as E. M. Delafield, was a prolific English author who is best-known for her largely autobiographical Diary of a Provincial Lady, which took the form of a journal of the life of an upper-middle class Englishwoman living mostly in a Devon village of the 1930s, and its sequels in which the Provincial La...more
More about E.M. Delafield...
Diary of a Provincial Lady (Prion Humour Classics) The Provincial Lady in London The Provincial Lady in America The Provincial Lady in Wartime The Provincial Lady in Russia

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