In a time when arranged marriages are the norm, two young people, Sarah Wetherall and Arthur Davenport, are forced into a distasteful correspondence n...moreIn a time when arranged marriages are the norm, two young people, Sarah Wetherall and Arthur Davenport, are forced into a distasteful correspondence not of their choosing. Trading quips and barbs, they suffer with being forced to write one another until Sarah finds relief through marriage to another man, and their correspondence blessedly comes to an end.
But Fate has more in store for these two...
Fast forward eleven years. Sarah’s husband is now deceased, and his family is disputing the widow’s rights to his estate. The solicitor she turns to in her time of need is none other than Arthur Davenport. It’s just business, surely, on both their parts, and sheer necessity, as Arthur helps her defend her late husband’s will. Or is it?
Silk and Scorn is a Regency novella, and it is actually second in a series, but I had no problem in reading it as a standalone. Brought together by necessity, and with the memory of their shared dislike of one another uppermost in their minds, it’s hard for Sarah and Arthur not to snipe at one another. But as this is a romance, the inevitable happens...
Watching them shed their bad first impressions and actually get to know each other is what this story is about. They learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and come to appreciate the actual person each has become, not the child that was.
My only complaint is its length. I think this could have been the beginning to a very lovely novel, and I would have enjoyed seeing more of them. As it is, it’s a short, sweet read, one I do recommend. Having read this one, I’d like to see more of what this author can do. (less)
Kitty Fane and her husband of two years, bacteriologist Walter Fane, live in Hong Kong, where he works. Kitty basically married Walter not for love, b...moreKitty Fane and her husband of two years, bacteriologist Walter Fane, live in Hong Kong, where he works. Kitty basically married Walter not for love, because she doesn’t love him, but because being unmarried at the age of twenty-five had become unbearable, and her eighteen-year-old sister is about to get married before her. Plus Walter wants to get married as soon as possible because he has accepted a position in Hong Kong, which means Kitty can escape her family. So Kitty accepts Walter’s proposal and they go to Hong Kong, even if she doesn’t love him. He obviously dotes on her, that should be enough, right?
Except it isn’t, and she’s having an affair with Charlie Townsend, Assistant Colonial Secretary.
Charlie’s older than her, forty to her twenty-seven, and he’s youthful, charismatic and very handsome. However, when Kitty hears the handle to her bedroom being turned, she thinks that her husband has come home early, and he knows. What is she to do?
The Painted Veil is one woman’s journey into self-realization. Kitty begins as a very shallow woman who thinks nothing of cuckolding her husband. She justifies her actions to herself because she enjoys what she’s doing, and believes herself to be in love with Charlie, who is also married.
The discovery of the affair brings ugly truths to light and takes both Kitty and Walter far away. Can what is broken be fixed? Or is this a deliberate ploy on Walter’s part to bring about Kitty’s death?
Kitty comes face to face with harsh realities and how she responds to them is the heart of the book, with her soul-searching and her insights into the person she is. This novel is very character-driven in that the action isn’t fast-paced, and it isn’t highly emotionally charged. But it is deep, as you delve into Kitty’s psyche and follow her journey to awareness.
It gave me a lot to think about. I can’t say I necessarily liked Kitty, and everything we learn is from her point of view, so we never get a good glimpse into Walter’s head, or the other characters, such as Waddington, or the Mother Superior. But every person Kitty meets has their part to play in her development.
If you like Maugham, you’ll certainly like this. Perhaps his novels don’t move like freight trains, but they are very deep and intense in their own way. I do recommend this one. I’m going to check out the movie too, and see what they did with the novel. (less)