I suspect there is a part of me that sees each novel as its own entity; I seem to forget the lessons past books have taught me. But I kind of like it that way. Each book is a new experience and I can live in a different world while I am in its pages. The experiences I have on a French battlefield in 1916 have little to do with the experiences of a 12 year old in an Irish manor house, or so it seems at the time. Reading is an activity set in the present, wherever the present happens to be.
As proof that Sebastian Faulks does indeed understand a woman’s perspective, I offer the following from page 235 of my Vintage International edition--
Lindsay had also been through a phase of inviting unattached men when Elizabeth went to visit. For two or three years the previously settled threesome would be augmented by a variety of single men, desperate, divorced, drunk, but more often merely content to be as they were.Can I get an Amen from anyone who has endured serial set-ups from self-proclaimed well meaning friends who "only want to see you happy” as if there could be only one route to happiness and that is marriage and procreation? As Elizabeth says, “I think I need to know why.”
OK, so maybe I went a little Bridget Jones in that last paragraph. The point is that I’m really enjoying the character of Elizabeth. On the 60th anniversary of the 1918 armistice--
There were interviews with veterans and comments from various historians. Elizabeth read it with a feeling of despair: the topic seemed too large, too fraught, and too remote for her to take on at that moment. Yet something in it troubled her.I get that, Elizabeth, I really do.
One of the book's locations:
|La Grand Place|
From New Cumnock Parish Church in East Ayrshire
|The Grand Place|
From the National Library of Scotland’s digital library
“The French town of Bethune was considered an important strategic location for its rail and canal links. It was nearly captured by German forces after heavy bombardment in April 1918.”