Margaret's Reviews > At Mrs. Lippincote's

At Mrs. Lippincote's by Elizabeth Taylor
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Mar 14, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: british-literature, virago, authors-tu, 2016-read, 2010-read
Read from September 17 to 18, 2016

I've had mixed success with Taylor before: I liked The Blush, a volume of short stories, and was less enthralled by In a Summer Season. I wasn't sure whether I would like this, Taylor's first novel, in which a military family comes to live in a rented house during World War II.

Married to a proper officer, Julia Davenant tries to behave as a proper officer's wife ought, yet she has a basic directness and disregard for social convention which trip her up. She forms a friendship with Roddy's commanding officer which begins with their mutual love of the Brontes, and she persists in seeing Mr. Taylor, a former restaurateur now dying slowly (of a cause I never quite caught), both relationships which make straitlaced Roddy uncomfortable. Yet in the end, her honest, sensitive character is the admirable one.

In the book's foreword, Taylor admits to rewriting a great deal, "so that sometimes a sentence in its evolution takes a whole page of scratching out." But all this labor doesn't show in her prose, which is elegant and lucid, precise and thoughtful. It's a quiet book, with a quiet plot, yet the characterization and writing are so deft that it's absorbing.
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Reading Progress

05/09/2010 page 152
70.7% "She does children really well: not small adults, nor twee cute talkers, just down-to-earth children."
02/07/2016 marked as: read
09/18/2016 marked as: currently-reading
09/19/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-2)




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message 2: by Moira (new)

Moira Russell Is this good?


Margaret I've barely started it and am enjoying it in a mild way so far -- have had mixed success with Taylor before. Will endeavor to comment further later. :)


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