Merlin Bay, by Richmal Crompton

Another one, bought on the strength of Portrait of a Family which I really liked. And this was good too. The story this time was of a family holiday, and again each person in the story has their own private life, concerns and ambitions, and she makes them all seem believable.

The book felt refreshingly free from political correctness - there was a "darkie barman", and a girl (Agnes) who's handicapped in some way, and they have discussions about putting her in an institution.

This bit made me think of William stories - at least, the sort of thing that grown-ups in them might say:

"I have, as I have said, very deep feelings. I can't - change. I can't take up people and drop them. When I give my friendship I give it for ever. I remember Gwynne once saying that loyalty is the keynote of my character. It's nothing to do with me, of course," she added modestly. "It's just - that I am like that."
And some other quotes I highlighed:
Pen smiled at him. She couldn't help liking him. No one could help liking him. Every woman who met him had a faint unformulated idea at the back of her mind that she could have kept him straight if she had been his wife.
"And now, dear," went on Violet brightly, "here I am talking about myself! I don't often do that, do I?" (Violet had not once stopped talking about herself since her arrival yesterday, but Florence was too loyal to let that thought even enter her mind.)
and this:in quoting it I realised I had highlighted the section starting "Whatever her love" but needed also to include the "Stella was" first, otherwise it might have sounded ironic, like the previous quote. But not all the writing in here is making fun of people, there's plenty of real stuff:
Stella was real and vital, and about her Mrs. Paget glimpsed something of the same secret exaltation that dwelt in her own spirit. She was too old for it to show, but it shone unmistakably in Stella, enhancing her loveliness, informing her youth with a kind of radiance, making her seem poignantly defenceless and vulnerable. Whatever her love was, it would probably bring her unhappiness (one's first love generally did), and she wouldn't realise that the unhappiness was just as precious as the happiness.

Good to see there are a load more re-issues. I'm not sure if perhaps I should buy them all now in case they disappear.

Completed : 25-May-2017

[nickoh] [2017 books] [books homepage]