06/10/2001

The Quiet War of Rebecca Sheldon (by Kathleen Rowntree)

I'm enjoying reading through books by Kathleen Rowntree. She has written several, most of which seem to have had some popularity, so it's odd that I can't find any website describing her or giving her a brief biography - not even Wikipedia or FantasticFiction. Each of her books I've read so far has been quite different, all well-written and with interesting characters and plots.

However, I wasn't so keen on 'The Quiet War of Rebecca Sheldon'. It's about - not surprisingly - Rebecca, who marries her childhood sweetheart George, just before the end of the 19th century. His strange sisters rather disapprove of her, so rather than taking over the family 'Grange', they live at first over a shop where George works as a butcher.

Rebecca never understands why George's family dislike her; over the years, there is uneasy contact, partly through her oldest daughter Meg, who is very like one of her aunts.

As they grow older, and live through World War I, there is a slow change in attitudes, until - eventually - Rebecca achieves what she wants. Loving comes through ill health and tragedy, brought on by George's stubbornness.

It's a family novel, with ongoing situations rather than much of a plot, but I found most of the people to be somewhat caricatured, so didn't develop much interest in them. Rebecca herself is sympathetic, and I found the book well-written, pleasant enough reading though not gripping.

Out of print, but sometimes available inexpensively second-hand.

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