Having seen this book hugely recommended on various blogs, it did not take me long to get this on my library request queue. Did I think it was worth the reviews? Absolutely.
Based in post-war British , this is the utterly delightful story of the friendship of Penelope, Charlotte an Henry. And that is just one layer of the story. Eva Rice transports the reader into the 1950s high society London and you can almost hear the clink of the wine glasses and smell the perfumes.
Penelope Wallace is the main protagonist of the story and the reader is instantly engaged with her character from the first page. You remember your teenage obsessions as she swoons over Johnnie Ray, you empathize with her shyness as she is overshadowed by a gorgeous and glamorous mother and your heart aches for her as she struggles for her own confused feelings of love.
Milton Magna , home to Penelope and Inigo, is clearly a symbolic substitute for their dead father. Falling apart in disrepair , with no means to keep it standing, Magna is the albatross around their neck. There is this constant sense of repression inside its walls. It is no wonder that Penelope is always escaping to London to spend time with Charlotte and Harry.
“We were young and the world spun for us alone” – My favorite line of the book ,it most accurately captures the essence of youth and the book. The constant light headed dizziness of being young and knowing that your whole life is in front of you, when being noticed and loved is what you can ask for most! And nothing changes that – not being in post-war england, not poverty , not rationing and not even living in a dying house.
Eva Rice’s literary style though breezy is fun to read. Character development is beautiful and that makes this book more classy than the others. The best part is that you don’t want the story to end where it does..you wish you could spend another day in the lives of Penelope and her friends.
Verdict : Must read