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Zella Sees Herself
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I really enjoyed Delafield's Provincial Lady series, and wanted to read her standalone novels. This was selected as my first such book merely because it was the initial novel in a Kindle collection which I purchased. Zella Sees Herself is a nicely written book, but it certainly follows the conventions of the coming-of-age novel; a young girl loses her mother at a young age, and is sent to a convent school. Whilst it is readable enough, Zella Sees Herself is quite unremarkable for the above ...more
This is the fourth Delafield book I have read this year. The first three (the first two Provincial Lady books and Faster! Faster!) were excellent, but this tale of moral development is a not much fun at all, At best, of limited period interest. Written in 1916 this book pre-dates the other Delafield novels I have read by 15 years or so. I am not sure why I dislike it so much. Did Delafield develop as a writer? Are the 1930s a more interesting period for me? Is the subject matter not to my taste? ...more
Average. Zella got more irritating as the book progressed. What with her striking poses and assuming conforming attitudes, her annoyingly laissez faire father, her clumsily scheming aunt Marianne, the religiously blinkered Tante Stephanie. In fact after all the annoying characters in the book, the only ones that emerged with any merit (to my mind .anyway) were her cousin James, the innocent, sheltered nuns at the convent and the Baronne.
Zella is one of EMD's early novels and like the others apparently sails close to the autobiographical winds of her early years. In Zella Sees Herself, Zella's childhood home, 'Villetswood' ... 'where there is not another house in miles', is sited somewhere in Devon, the author may have had in her mind the house at Butterleigh, near Tiverton, where she spent many happy childhood summers. Boscastle, the novel's other unspecified family house, home of her aunt and uncle may be based on her ...more
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 ...more