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The Winds of Heaven
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The Winds of Heaven

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  85 ratings  ·  12 reviews
The Winds of Heaven is a 1955 novel about 'a widow, rising sixty, with no particular gifts or skills, shunted from one to the other of her more or less unwilling daughters on perpetual uneasy visits, with no prospect of her life getting anything but worse’ (Afterword). One daughter is the socially ambitious Miriam living in commuter belt with her barrister husband and chil ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published by Persephone Books (first published 1955)
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Another winner from the marvelous Persephone books, number 90 from their list. The second Monica Dickens they have re-published.
The Winds of Heaven is a beautifully constructed novel. Louise is a widow forced by financial hardship to depend on her grown up daughters to home her for half the year, while she winters at a friend's hotel the rest of the time. Her daughters are each selfish, and difficult, in different ways and Louise is never able to feel at home, or properly useful where ever she g
“When the winds of heaven blow, men are inclined to throw back their heads like horses, and stride ruggedly into the gusts, pretending to be much healthier than they really are; but women tend to creep about, shrunk into their clothes and clutching miserably at their hats and hair.”

Louise Bickford had felt the force of the wind of heaven. In her early fifties in the early fifties, she found herself widowed, penniless and homeless after the death of her brutish husband.

Her daughters, three very d
Louise's husband has recently died, leaving her nearly destitute and having to cast herself on the tender mercies of her three daughters, with whom she lives turn and turn-about. Unfortunately, none of the daughters really wants Louise, though they feel morally obliged to have her, and so she feels that she doesn't belong anywhere. Although I appreciated Dickens' deft and sympathetic characterization and very readable writing, the plot slogged a bit and wound up in a rather melodramatic way.
Helen Kitson
Louise is the parcel in a game of pass-the-parcel between her three daughters, none of whom wants to be burdened with their mother. Louise's only ally is her grand-daughter Ellen, who is herself often treated unkindly by her parents. Salvation comes in the unlikely form of a diabetic bed salesman and part-time writer of lurid thrillers. Emotionally truthful without being sentimenal. [June 2004]
Beth Bonini
During the school term, I rarely find time to read adult books. I'm always conscious of the huge stack of children's books that I need to read and the never-ending lesson plans which need to be written.

I bought this book at the Persephone store in London -- a birthday present to myself -- and I read it in one sitting on a cold, wet January day. It felt like a necessary indulgence at the time, and there was something hugely emotionally satisfying about it. The characters felt so real, particularl
Monica Dickens wrote notable novels, particularly examining the quiet struggles of women in the earlier part of the 20th century. The Winds of Heaven details the troubled, mid-century life of widowed Louise Bickford, left impoverished by a neglectful, egoist late husband. Her three adult daughters unfortunately are carrying on the theme of their deceased father's life by deriding, snubbing, and generally underestimating Louise in all ways. It is a truthful novel, but tiring in that these stereot ...more
Louise is a widow with three grown-up daughters, left with so little money that she has nowhere to live and has to stay with her daughters in turns. None of the daughters are particularly happy in their lives and none of them really want her. The family members that Louise gets on with best are a young granddaughter and one of her sons-in-law. By chance she meets and becomes friends with a man of a lower class who writes trashy thrillers. But the heart of the novel is her relationships with her ...more
This was a very good read. Published ages ago in the 50's (actually, not that long ago). The widow mother of 3 daughters, who is left penniless and is passed on to each daughter during the year. A very unpleasant situation for all. Will Louise ever find happiness or will she be a burden to everyone and herself?
Loved it. Charming. The eye into various aspects of English life post WWII were wonderful. The digs into 'suburban/village' were right on.
Persephone picked a winner in this one. Interesting to note which you get from the little essay by Byatt at the back is that Monica Dickens is a Dickens great granddaughter.
Fiftyish widow is left to the charity of her three selfish daughters. I just loved this book. Funny and sad and a joy to read. A Persephone Book.
Julia Tracey
Slow, sweet, poignant -- and with a satisfying ending. I like that. I enjoyed this thoroughly.
Dec 26, 2010 Sonia marked it as to-read
Thanks to my Nook, I found out about Monica Dickens and will give her books a try!
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From the publisher: MONICA DICKENS, born in 1915, was brought up in London. Her mother's German origins and her Catholicism gave her the detached eye of an outsider; at St Paul's Girls' School she was under occupied and rebellious. After drama school she was a debutante before working as a cook. One Pair of Hands (1937), her first book, described life in the kitchens of Kensington. It was the firs ...more
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