Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Treasures of Time

Rate this book
Treasures of Time is the twelfth novel by Booker Prize winning author Penelope Lively, a spellbinding story of the dangers of digging up the dark secrets of the past. This edition features an introduction by Selina Hastings. Penguin Decades bring you the novels that helped shape modern Britain. When they were published, some were bestsellers, some were considered scandalous, and others were simply misunderstood. All represent their time and helped define their generation, while today each is considered a landmark work of storytelling. Penelope Lively's Treasures of Time was published in 1979, and is an acutely observed study of marriage and manipulation. When the BBC want to make a documentary about acclaimed archaeologist Hugh Paxton, his widow Laura, daughter Kate and her fiancé Tom are a little digging up the past can also disturb the present . . . Penelope Lively is the author of many prize-winning novels and short-story collections for both adults and children. She has twice been shortlisted for the Booker once in 1977 for her first novel, The Road to Lichfield, and again in 1984 for According to Mark. She later won the 1987 Booker Prize for her highly acclaimed novel Moon Tiger. Her other books include Going Back; Judgement Day; Next to Nature, Art; Perfect Happiness; Passing On; City of the Mind; Cleopatra's Sister; Heat Wave; Beyond the Blue Mountains, a collection of short stories; Oleander, Jacaranda, a memoir of her childhood days in Egypt; Spiderweb; her autobiographical work, A House Unlocked; The Photograph; Making It Up; Consequences; Family Album, which was shortlisted for the 2009 Costa Novel Award, and How It All Began. She is a popular writer for children and has won both the Carnegie Medal and the Whitbread Award. She was appointed CBE in the 2001 New Year's Honours List, and DBE in 2012. Penelope Lively lives in London.

208 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1980

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Penelope Lively

149 books803 followers
Penelope Lively is the author of many prize-winning novels and short-story collections for both adults and children. She has twice been shortlisted for the Booker Prize: once in 1977 for her first novel, The Road to Lichfield, and again in 1984 for According to Mark. She later won the 1987 Booker Prize for her highly acclaimed novel Moon Tiger.

Her other books include Going Back; Judgement Day; Next to Nature, Art; Perfect Happiness; Passing On; City of the Mind; Cleopatra’s Sister; Heat Wave; Beyond the Blue Mountains, a collection of short stories; Oleander, Jacaranda, a memoir of her childhood days in Egypt; Spiderweb; her autobiographical work, A House Unlocked; The Photograph; Making It Up; Consequences; Family Album, which was shortlisted for the 2009 Costa Novel Award, and How It All Began.

She is a popular writer for children and has won both the Carnegie Medal and the Whitbread Award. She was appointed CBE in the 2001 New Year’s Honours List, and DBE in 2012.

Penelope Lively lives in London. She was married to Jack Lively, who died in 1998.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
50 (13%)
4 stars
139 (38%)
3 stars
123 (34%)
2 stars
39 (10%)
1 star
7 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 49 reviews
Profile Image for Hugh.
1,256 reviews49 followers
July 1, 2020
Penelope Lively's second novel for adults, first published in 1979, is an enjoyable mixture - a sometimes poignant comedy of misunderstandings, with a theme about history and archaeology, but very much a book of its time - whatever happened to the Britain in which "There's political stability and a fair degree of tolerance and a certain capacity to admit mistakes."

The plot centres on the family of a now dead archaeologist Hugh Paxton, who made his name with spectacular finds from a dig at a barrow known as Charlie's Tump near his Wiltshire home. His widow Laura, who had little interest in his work, now occupies their house with her disabled elder sister Nellie, a former archaeologist who was responsible for introducing the mismatched couple. Their only child is Kate, who has her own dealings with the past in her museum job. Kate's partner Tom is writing a thesis on the (real) eighteenth century archaeologist William Stukeley. Tom likes a drink, is wary of commitment and easily led, and much of the comedy in the book derives from his misadventures.

A television crew turns up intending to make a program about Hugh Paxton and his work, and this leads the various protagonists to share their very different accounts of the events at the pivotal dig and what they saw and felt. The ending is a little melodramatic but rather satisfying.

A very enjoyable book, as Lively's novels always are.

Profile Image for Jan-Maat.
1,549 reviews1,826 followers
February 21, 2022
I have never had an idea or conception about Penelope Lively, by contrast I have long had the definate idea that Beryl Bainbridge only wrote novels about the sinking of the Titantic. Maybe that is not the case, my point is that in my mental map of English literature Penelope Lively was a blank space.

I have to be careful what I write. I made the classic mistake of reading the introduction to the book before reading the book - such idiocy, imagining that it might introduce me to the book, when reading it you could guess pretty much what the hidden relationships of some of the characters were, and what threatens to be dug up when the BBC wants to make a documentary about deceased archaeologist Hugh Paxton - but I have already said to much and your brains will be working feverishly to connect dots already.

One of the characters is writing a PhD on the antiquarian William Stukeley (1687-1765) who late in his career decided that the religion of prehistoric Briton was proto-Anglicanism. I can only hope that you connect things in as erroneous a manner that you might be a little surprised by what you find in the novel.

The story is told from a variety of viewpoints in short sections. Sometimes we learn about the same thing from three different perspectives.

Ah, but what I wanted to say and therefore will, is that Sigmund Freud was fond of collecting antiquities. Little things from ancient Greece, Rome, and Egypt that he could keep on his desk while his patients were on the couch. Freud liked to think of psychoanalysis as an archaeology of the mind. This novel illustrates that thought - as is maybe appropriate for a novel from the time. The reader scrapes their eyes over the surface, combines fragments in their minds and understands, or thinks they understand something more of the character or nature of the characters gathered together in a decaying country house even without the presence of a famous Belgian detective or elderly knitting spinster .

It was very enjoyable, frequently funny, I am pretty sure that I laughed out loud reading it at least once. The characters are mostly self-obsessed making them dangerous to others, but also in places amusing to the reader. As you might expect from a novel from the 70s - the era when inequality in Britain was at its lowest, before it began to rapidly increase, class is an issue, and I was surprised at the upwardly mobile Tom's confidence and lack of deference towards the wealthy, clearly a different era.
July 6, 2019
The fact is, of course, that what you feel about what you see depends not on what is, but who you are. A place is an illusion.
A very subtle, understated measure of time—in the individual sense; in the familial sense; in the generational sense; and in the historical sense—and how all of these converge and conflict when the BBC descends upon the fractured Paxton family, intent on making a documentary about deceased archeologist Hugh Paxton. 

Navigating the different memories this present-day excavation unearths, Lively is able to give us a true sense of how those who have devoted their lives to uncovering the truths of history—e.g., Paxton, and also the young Tom, engaged to Paxton’s aloof and emotionally traumatized daughter, Kate—may know less than those who have lived their own histories more organically, such as Nellie, first Paxton’s lover and then sister-in-law (and, possibly, her lover yet again), who is confined to a wheelchair after a stroke yet is still more mobile in the outside world—as well as the inner world—than many of the other characters; Laura, Nellie’s sister and Paxton’s widow, who, despite her class-conscious snobbism and her disdain for the new generation (it seems like the mid-to-late-1970s), clings to memories of her past, even if only for purely selfish reasons; and the Paxtons’ daughter Kate, who is as unpredictable as the land her father explored and charted, proving, in short, that only nature rules where mankind fails, and that it is our blunder to think we can either rewrite history or claim ownership or knowledge of a land’s spoils.

While this is a minor Lively, her pacing is spot-on, even as she moves somewhat quickly from each characters’ point-of-view and from the present to the past. Recommended for fans of Lively’s more mature work, fans of Bowen, fans of Taylor, and also perhaps fans of Brookner.
Profile Image for Paul Secor.
550 reviews48 followers
June 6, 2020
Another one of this year's re-reads. Five stars the first time out and five again this time'

I was interested that so much of the novel was spent on the two characters who were the least likable - Laura and Tom - and that the two characters I found most likable - Kate and Nellie - were relatively ignored. I found myself wondering whether Ms. Lively found Laura and Tom more interesting or whether she wanted to draw attention to Kate and Nellie through the contrast of not focusing her considerations on them. Perhaps some of each is true.
Profile Image for Carolyn.
1,108 reviews12 followers
June 6, 2021
After reading Richard Flanagan's latest very confronting novel, it was a pleasure to enter the quiet, observant world of Penelope Lively's fiction. I have always enjoyed her work and am chasing up her books that I haven't read.

This didn't quite reach the heights of my favourites (Moon Tiger, Oleander Jacaranda or Perfect Happiness) but offered reflections on the nature of time, how we perceive the past and how the treasures of pre-history can influence our own experience.

The novel moves between the present and the past. In the present, Kate and her boyfriend Tom visit her mother and disabled aunt in Wiltshire, where Kate's father Hugh, a famous archeologist, had made a significant find. The past, seen from the points of view of different characters, gives readers insights that suggest the surface of family life, or the stories they tell of the past, are not all they seem. The arrival of Tony and his TV crew, preparing to make a documentary on father Hugh, stirs up old memories and shifts relationships. Lively has an acute understanding of the psychology of her characters and the fine distinctions of class. She writes with both wit and compassion.

An easy, interesting and pleasurable read.
Profile Image for Kate.
255 reviews2 followers
March 11, 2018
This is one of those 'quiet' yet 'profound' books - not an awful lot 'happens' and I felt somewhat distant from the majority of characters, however, overall I enjoyed this read. I liked the fluid time line, the fact the people experience the same events differently and recall events differently - as the blurb says 'Treasures of Time explores the relationship between the lives we live and the lives we think we live'.

The day trip to Oxford, Blenheim, Minster Lovell & the Cotswolds was hilarious - an old stomping ground so I could picture it clearly. My favourite character was Martin Laker & his ramshackle career of restoring churches, estate villages etc. He seemed to be possibly the only happy and content person in the book.

As an ex-archaeologist & someone who still works with old buildings, I enjoyed her knowledge of history and archaeology and that element of the story.

Wish Kate could believe that she is better off without Tom (who needs to grow up and take responsibility for how he treats people), but I doubt that will be the case.....

How all is in constant flux, with solid ground disappearing beneath your feet in an instant - 'Where there was sun and bright sky-reflecting water and grass pouring in the wind there is uncertainty and misgivings and the knowledge that nothing stays still, that one moves all the time from one moment to another, that everything changes'.

How your 'time' and 'place' shape you - 'The winds of change blow on us all, conditioning a great deal more than how we dress or what we eat'.

The idea that everyone experiences the same places differently - 'The fact is, of course, that what you feel about what you see depends not on what it is, but who you are. A place is an illusion. Here we stand, these people and me, looking at quite different things'.

Sir Thomas Brown- 'remember the wheel of things' - later croquet as a recurring significant event - is this an example of 'the wheel of things?'.

Profile Image for Lisa.
3,315 reviews417 followers
August 16, 2014
By comparison with today’s tomes, Treasures of Time is a short book, only 200 pages long, but it shows Lively at her best: an engaging plot, deft characterisation, acute powers of observation (especially about class distinction) and her finger on the pulse of social change. I read it in two nights, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Hugh Paxton was an eminent archaeologist and the BBC wants to make a doco about him. Tony, the affable producer, heads off to Wiltshire to focus on the most famous dig and meet up with Hugh’s tiresome widow Laura, also gathering up an assortment of experts to pontificate about archaeology in general and Paxton in particular. (Lively’s husband was an Oxford academic, and the source of snippets of professional jealousy is amusingly obvious.) The daughter, Kate, who had escaped to London, is required, and must therefore agonise about the impending meeting between her mother and her fiance Tom. He’s a cheerful, easygoing fellow on the way to making good in an academic career – but he’s not of their class, and Laura is going to be dismissive.

To view the rest visit
426 reviews2 followers
December 31, 2020
The title Treasures of Time comes from a book written by Sir Thomas Browne in the 17th Century after a discovery of several Anglo-Saxon pots in Norfolk stirred his imagination and musings on burials, the brevity of life, and other existential thoughts. I spent a few hours reading about Sir Thomas Browne and his work, Hydriotaphia, Urn Burial, or a Brief Discourse of the Sepulchral Urns of Norfolk, and bits of the dense (and for me, mostly incomprehensible) Hydriotaphia itself, but found my self in a rabbit-warren of possible meanings and influences on the themes of Lively's book. Suffice it to say, there is one theme in the Hydriotaphia that Lively takes up, and that is the fruitlessness of ambition and the chasing after money. However, in her usual way, Lively shows that the issue is much more complex than easy judgments would allow. It might be easy for a man of hereditary means, as well as one who apparently had no difficulties in finding work as a physician after his Oxford studies, such as Sir Thomas was, to dismiss trying to make money, while a man without family wealth and with few job prospects in his field of study, such as our character Tom, cannot disregard the need to make a living. I note here only parenthetically that the subject of Tom's thesis, William Stukeley, was born shortly after Sir Thomas, and the two men had much in common in regard to their scientific interests and both men's religious views clouded their scientific views.

Profile Image for Marjorie Jones.
64 reviews
April 27, 2023
Spoiler warning, but not in this review.

This is the first time I’ve read a book where the introduction completely summarises the main characters, their lives, their relationships and what happens to them.

The edition I read (or more accurately, started reading) has an introduction by Selina Harris where she does just that. Guess what Selina, that’s the whole reason I read the book, to find out about the characters, their lives, their relationships, and what happens to them. Especially for an author like Penelope Lively, who uses words so economically and incisively to paint such a clear picture that you can easily imagine you are sitting with them, experiencing what they are experiencing, and feeling what they are feeling.

So where’s the excitement in unwrapping the story layer by layer, learning who populates it, what motivates them, and why they behave as they do, so skilfully and prettily parcelled up by Penelope, for me to enjoy, when Selina has ripped the whole thing open and exposed the contents before I’ve even had time to marvel at the way she’s tied the bow? Once you’ve seen the beautiful gift inside the parcel, even from a distance, you can’t un-see it. You’ll always know what the parcel contains.

Selina’s introduction needs a spoiler review. I’m now really sorry I read it, as it has completely spoiled the book for me at this time. I’m regretfully abandoning this book a couple of chapters in, for now at least.

Perhaps in a year or two, when a lot more of the water of time has flowed under the bridge, and taken a few dozen more books from my bookshelf with it, I’ll have forgotten about this evil trick that’s been played on Penelope’s readers. Perhaps then I’ll be able to start reading the book again, and enjoy it, having forgotten all I know about what’s inside this particular parcel.

This is the first (and hopefully) only the time I have ever given a Penelope Lively book less than five stars. I’m
so sorry, Penelope. It breaks my heart to do this.

If anyone has read this far in my review, and happens to have a copy of the book that doesn’t begin with an “introduction” containing this mega-spoiler, so wonders what on earth I’m talking about, all I can say is how lucky you are. You can sit back and read and enjoy the book as Penelope intended it to be read. And me? Remind me to pick it up again in about five years.
Profile Image for Anneliese Tirry.
303 reviews34 followers
July 23, 2018
Dit was de eerste roman voor volwassenen van Penelope Lively en je voelt dat ze hier nog niet het niveau heeft van bvb "The photograph" of "Moon Tiger" of de ongelooflijke memoir "Ammonites and leaping fish".
Waar de auteur wel al meester in is, is in het schetsen van onderlinge relaties en hoe personages evolueren, en ook over hoe het geheugen werkt.
Sterk in deze roman vond ik hoe elk personage alternerend aan het woord komt, in de tegenwoordige tijd maar ook terugkijkend op het verleden. Er wordt nooit gezegd wie aan het woord is, maar het is altijd wel duidelijk.
Dit is geen boek dat ik zal meedragen voor de rest van mijn leven, maar ik heb wel een zeer grote sympathie opgevat voor hoofdpersonage Tom.
70 reviews
May 4, 2021
A gentle read. I love Penelope Lively. I love that this one was based in Wiltshire!!
Profile Image for Milica.
61 reviews2 followers
May 4, 2014
I... don't quite know what to say. Given that my edition was part of the Penguin Decades series and supposed to represent the 1970s, I guess I expected it to deal with the social changes occurring at that time in at least some form. The closest it gets to this is discussing social mobility, political indifference and the concept of nationality in passing and while that's not why I decided to buy it, it did feel like a bit of a let down. My second problem with it was that there's no real urgency to tell this story, and while there are high points throughout (it's quite clever and the characters feel real, but most of them leave you feeling indifferent be they nice people or not so much), I doubt you'll feel much richer for having read it. It's not bad per se, but feels a bit pointless at times. That said, I'd quite like to read something else by Penelope Lively and see if my feelings would change.
451 reviews1 follower
July 8, 2020
A beautifully written novel first published in 1979 telling the story, from several viewpoints, of the family of deceased archaeologist Hugh Paxton as the BBC attempts to make a programme about his life. Class, history, archaeology, landscape and the difference between various people's memories of events are all themes of the story as the past continues to haunt the present. A thoughtful read which still seemed to have a lot of relevance to today.
139 reviews
May 27, 2019
I know Penelope Lively’s work mostly from her children’s books which I enjoyed reading to and with children when they were first published and since. I think her writing stands the tests of time because it is about the eternal themes of life and love and death. ‘Treasures of Time’, although published forty years ago, has messages which are strangely contemporary. The story revolves around five main characters and is told through their thoughts, memories and actions in the present of the book, the late 1970s, and their past lives. I had thought that Kate, the daughter of the celebrated archaeologist about whom a television programme is planned, would be the pivotal character. Having read it I think her fiancée Tom is actually more of pivot, if there is one.
There are no great plot surprises in the book although, towards the end, there is one event that I didn’t see coming. Having no great plot surprises is a bonus. This isn’t a plot driven story as so many modern stories are. It isn’t what happens or what happened in the past, that matters but the way the characters interpret or relate to it and to each other.

There are several references through the book to technology and how it is invading people’s lives for better or worse. As the story was written pre-internet and mobile phone I thought that was an insightful observation. There are also a couple, who are friends of Tom, livening what we might describe now as a rather New Age existence turning their backs on modern conveniences in favour of an Aga in the kitchen and a mangle for the washing. I did wonder what contemporary readers would have thought of that in 1979.

The book is beautifully written unpicking the minutiae of everyday life. She reminds me a little of Ann Tyler’s work in that she writes about experiences that are common to many people and therefore helps us to understand ourselves a little more. I think that often writers who focus on the everyday are sometimes unrated because they aren’t writing about the big issues. For some readers and critics the everyday isn’t considered important which is strange because it’s the one theme we all have in common.
The prevalent them is I think about time; time past and time present and how we mis-remember the past. The copy that I read was a Penguin reissue. It appeared to be a slim volume as there were barely 200 pages however the font was small and a rough comparison with another book showed that word for word it wasn’t as short as it looked. It might sound a strange observation but physically I found it a tricky read because the font was so small each page seemed to be dense with text. I’d be interested to see how the original hardback was set out.
I think it would make an excellent TV drama. I don’t think many of her books have been dramatised but maybe that’s her choice.
Profile Image for Nicole.
179 reviews1 follower
March 21, 2020
This is my first Penelope Lively novel. Treasures of Time takes its title from the work of Thomas Browne on Roman archaeology and artefacts. It's a play on words, I suppose, since the novel is focused on time, memory and the criss-crossing relationships of the younger and older members of the novel. The one thing that ties everyone together is history.

What I loved about this novel was the vividness of the characters. Lively really knows how to draw out the reactions of her characters and make them seem real. Her artistry is what earned this novel an extra star rather than just being a 3-star novel. The conflicts the characters have are nothing new and have been revisited by many different authors, but somehow the characters still seemed fresh. I was reminded constantly of my years studying in England - Lively simply captured their British-ness.

What I really did not like about the novel were the cliches. I won't go into them because of spoilers. Some of the relationships, e.g. father-daughter, did not feel fleshed out enough, but I think this was done on purpose. I felt, however, that the kernel of the novel suffered a bit from the lack of detail especially since the novel was focused on relationships and the enduring consequential legacies on personal memory.

I also wasn't a huge fan of the format. The narration leapt from character to character within a given chapter. It might take a few sentences to realize which character was narrating. You do get used to the format midway but it still felt jarring at times. While the approach allowed the reader to be in many different heads, the flow of the novel felt sacrificed.

Additionally, in my opinion, this novel is not 5 stars because at the end of the day it is quite boring. Well-written and short (it's saving grace) but there's just a lot of nothing and you don't really end up sympathizing with any character.

Still, an eminently good read because of the writing.
1,494 reviews24 followers
July 29, 2022
I thought that this novel from 1979 was a little gem in its genre. The POV shifts and it's not 100 % clear who the protagonist is. Kate and Tom are a young couple; she works as a museum assistant and he's finishing his history PhD. Kate also happens to be the daughter of the late, great archeologist Hugh Paxton. Kate's mother, the elegant but self-centered Laura, is delighted when the BBC wants to do a documentary about him, while Nellie, Laura's sister, who was once Hugh's assistant and friend, watches everything from the wheelchair to which a stroke has condemned her.

That's about the plot of the story, and that really doesn't do the book justice. The undercurrents in the Paxton family, illustrated by short, but impactful flashbacks, run through the book, even as the narrative shifts from Laura's idle day in town to Nellie's painful memories and to Kate's half-remembered childhood experiences. Kate and Tom love each other, but tend to quarrel. Tom is beginning to wonder how he's going to make a living. And the bond between Laura and Nellie may be more complicated than it seems in the first scenes.

I also particularly loved the descriptions of the English landscape and weather. This is the type of book that makes you long for a good tramp across the hills in your boots and woolen jacket.
Profile Image for Stephen.
267 reviews
February 22, 2022
SUMMARY - Even writing the review makes me fondly misty-eyed. Not her absolute best, but still one to treasure.

4.5. If I was lucky enough to commission my very own Penelope Lively, it might well have many of the ingredients in Treasures of Time. It foregrounds cities I have lived, namechecked firms I worked, and discusses a professional fork in the road I have faced. The nostalgic poignancy of false memory that Lively captures so well - here - for me - runs up against some home truths

I mention this not because my navel is especially fascinating, but because it made me reevaluate the exceptional relatability of Lively's writing elsewhere. It is hard for me not to compare to Lively's account of an Egyptian woman's twilight years (Moon Tiger: 1987), or indeed the wrapping up of a deceased parent's life (The Road to Lichfield: 1977). In these latter cases my participation was entirely imaginative. Yet these other books by Lively had me entirely captured in the minds of others, enraptured by an alternative reality.

Here the concrete presincts and smudgy thumbs were instantly evocative, and despite sounding prosaic there was still magic in their familiarity. Oddly, though, despite recognising scenes from my own life, I felt it slightly less relatable than the far more remote scenescapes Lively sets up in the two previous novels of hers I've read. Did I experience interference from a fictional and actual nostalgia, which like two radio frequencies cut across one another? Or was the whole just slightly below her Jack Nicklaus par best?

It's a minor quibble. The prose still leaps from the page, and the soaring hills and green lanes (and yes, even Midland cities!) are still beautiful elevated by Lively's descriptions. If I am learning anything, it is that time reading Lively will invariably be time well spent.
Profile Image for Vickie.
119 reviews
March 22, 2020
(1979) Tom is engaged to Kate, daughter of Laura, widow of famous archeologist, Hugh Paxton. Tony is making TV programme about Hugh and the book looks at these people and at Nellie, disabled sister of Laura, during the period of making the programme.
This is not up to the standard of Lively's best. Characters were not fleshed out convincingly, several affairs were hinted at but no more, and the ending was unsatisfactory. Perhaps this is realistic - one does sometimes know people over a period of time that is too short to gain a picture of their lives and characters - but it does not make a good plot for a novel. However, there were interesting observations and it was an enjoyable book that was worth reading.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
152 reviews
May 17, 2019
The British class system in the 20th century, examined in this study of Tom and Kate, Kate’s mother and aunt and the episodes which bring them all together. The plot covers events in their lives over a short period of time following the death of Kate’s father, a famous archaeologist. The class system, relationships, infidelities, archaeology and even Japanese tourism in Oxford all feature at one stage or another. The story is told in vivid flashback as well as current time. All is quite loose and not very much happens, but the story is entertaining enough and contains the hallmarks of Penelope Lively.
Profile Image for Andrew.
1,133 reviews24 followers
July 15, 2022
Another enjoyable story by Penelope Lively who has such skill in making the domestic drama of middle class England compelling as she lifts the rock to reveal all the tensions that family life has to offer.
After the death of famous archaeologist Hugh a TV company ask his flighty widow to allow a documentary about his life. Living with her sister who has recently has a stroke and had feelings for Hugh, Laura the widow draws her daughter Kate and kates academic fiancee tom into the drama. Kate, like a spider has a knack of bringing everyone into her world.
The subsequent story makes for an enjoyable read and no one does bitterness and long held resentment better than Penelope lively.
Profile Image for Artie LeBlanc.
478 reviews4 followers
August 17, 2021
I was marginally disappointed with this book, having recently read Lively's first novel, The Road to Lichfield. The theme running through it is similar - what is history and what do we know of the history of others, and how that affects history: but in this book, the theme is much more overt, and is therefore less satisfying, having lost its subtlety. The characters in Treasures of Time are less finely drawn (athough it is refreshing to be presented with the view of a wheelchair user). The book is worth reading, but nothing special.
228 reviews
September 3, 2017
A delightful and thoughtful tale about elite English life, academic and well-heeled but suffering the same everyday social challenges as everyone else. The story of the relationship between one young couple is interwoven with that of parents and family in the past plus a background of the early 20th Century scene in Bronze Age archeology.
Profile Image for Ange.
263 reviews1 follower
June 29, 2021
A book that should be more interesting than it was given the archaeological focus. A mild read with an assortment of characters who are not terribly engaging, and some who are brittle and quite unpleasant.
329 reviews
December 18, 2022
Another wonderful complex study of people and their relationships to each other. No one does it better than Penelope Lively. I especially love when she writes the same situation from different character viewpoints. It gives any situation a richer and deeper meaning.
Profile Image for Jo Birkett.
544 reviews
February 3, 2023
Nicely done with lots going on under the surface & a growing expectation of denouement which is not what you think. Different POVs add richness. I think I'd read before though maybe it was a shorter piece also about archeology.
Profile Image for Jules.
415 reviews1 follower
April 23, 2023
Another wonderful complex study of people and their relationships to each other. No one does it better than Penelope Lively. I especially love when she writes the same situation from different character viewpoints. It gives any situation a richer and deeper meaning.
Profile Image for Simon Fermor.
32 reviews
July 13, 2018
A bit dated but fun to read if you lived in London in the 70's! Interesting study of flawed characters and how they can get into a relationship mess inevitably and unwittingly.
Profile Image for Ellen.
174 reviews2 followers
February 25, 2017
Boring and too much posh speak to flow well in reading.
Can't read all those 'ones' and not dislike.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 49 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.