02/03/2007

Honor and Evie (by Susannah Bates)

'Honor and Evie' is a modern novel by Susannah Bates, an author I had not previously come across.

It's the story of two cousins. Honor is the daughter of wealthy parents, given every advantage in life. She is academic in an unassuming way, and she has the ability to be diplomatic in any circumstances. So her cousin Evie is an unlikely best friend. Evie's parents are not well-off; her father is a struggling artist, and Evie is something of a rebel.

At eighteen, Honor and Evie are very close, sharing each other's lives as much as possible despite their differing circumstances. But when Honor goes to Oxford University, and Evie takes a job as a waitress in a dumpy café, they inevitably find that their interests diverge. And when Evie falls in love with someone who finds Honor more attractive, it seems as if their friendship is threatened. Most of the book is about the girls' lives in their early twenties, as Honor takes the predictable path of marriage to someone sensible, and Evie discovers that she's really a career girl.

In many ways, this is exactly my kind of book. The characters are well-drawn and sympathetic, there's not too much leaping about of viewpoint, and there are a few weightier issues explored. The author does a good job of portraying the good and bad sides of all characters, including the minor ones. It isn't a deeply emotive book, either; perhaps it's not meant to be.

There were one or two places where I skimmed a little: mainly discussions about business, journalism and finances. This didn't really detract from my enjoyment of the book but it did make it easy to put down at times. Having said that, it only took me about four days to read over 500 pages. I won't be pondering it in weeks to come, but I enjoyed it and will no doubt re-read it again in a few years.

For some reason, this book does not seem to be available in the USA.

I wrote a longer review of this novel at The Bookbag.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i recently read this book but when i thought that i was ending i realized that the last pages are missing so i have no idea what's the end, is not like i really adore the book or anything like that but is frustrating not really knowing what happened!!!