Shades Of Words

The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets


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 wish you could spend another day in the lives of Penelope and her friends.

Verdict : Must read


Author: Vipula

Before talking about who we are, we’d like to tell you a bit about how and why Shades of Words came into being. It all started with the idea of “A place where we could share with likeminded people about things we enjoy. From books to music to movies to travel; Shades of Words was to be a place about the best of our experiences” We thought about why should anyone read us? The answer was that whatever we review would be a mix of our experience of the thing along with interesting and useful information about it. So in case you are reading us regularly or even checking us out once in a while then we have succeeded in our efforts someway somewhere. Who are we? Known as Kapil Sood and Vipula Gupta, we thought of Shades of Words on one fine Sunday afternoon. Tired of writing interesting RFP’s and project documentation; we decided to give this a shot. Yes! We work in Indian IT industry. Cupid struck us while were innocently slogging together on the highly intricate job of formatting and beautifying documents! And since then, we have been working together to establish Shades of Words as a place that we can claim as ours. (Because buying a house is still years away!) What else? Kapil also writes some blogs which you can read here and here.

8 thoughts on “The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets

  1. I think post war life must have been pretty bleak, but Rice really makes the lives of these people appealing despite that. I loved this too and am glad you enjoyed it as well!

  2. Yes. It was mostly thanks to your blog and some other that really made me want to read this.

  3. That’s a nice find! Wish I could find it here somewhere. Hope to get my hands on it sometime!

    I think there are very few post war books that would deal with this sort of theme

  4. Zoya – yes it was. I was very lucky. I am reading two very interesting books now – The Memoirs of Jane Austen and Superman comics ( okay the second one is not a book)

    • Superman comics? You should’ve blogged on your take on that 😀 I bought a couple of mangas last year which I’m sure are gathering dust in my shelves somewhere. Guess what! I found the digital version of this book by Eva Rice.

  5. Sounds like a great book. I will add it to the list!

  6. Samantha – Thanks for stopping by ! Yes it was completely charming book – exactly how a book based in england should be 🙂

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