Sunday, 11 March 2012

Book Review: The Light years - Elizabeth Jane Howard

Synopsis - Home Place, Sussex, 1937.  The English family at home.  For two unforgettable summers, the Cazalet family gather together, safe from the advancing storm clouds of war.  In the heart of the Sussex countryside, these are still sunlit days of children's games, lavish family meals and picnics on the beach.  The three generations of Cazalets, the parents, William and Kitty, the brothers, Hugh, Edward and Rupert, their wives, sisters, children and servants are all lovingly portrayed, and the fascinating tangle of their lives recreates a vanished historical world. 

Review - This was the chosen book group read for this month's review.  It is not a book that I would have bought.  I found it slow getting into the story and rather muddling at first working out who was who.  Once the first half of Part One was over the story took off and I found the book a pleasant read.  A light, holiday read.  The story was simply told and I found in Part Two the impending war was well referenced.  Good characterisations, and most of the characters quite likeable.  My favourite of the brothers were Hugh, hurt in the war and Rupert but Edward was well characterised as a selfish, pleasure seeking cad.  The books showed how the chattering classes behaved and the sort of summers they would have in the country or by the sea returning to their town houses for the remainder of the year.  Boarding schools for boys, governesses, nannies, servants and the unmarried sister.  3*

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