Thursday, 10 September 2015


It's been a while since I treated to myself to a new Persephone and Vain Shadow, by Jane Hervey, turned out to be a little gem; so well-observed and funny. It covers four days as a family gathers for the funeral of a wealthy, overbearing and not greatly mourned patriarch. His widow hopes for peace and a new peach bathroom suite. His sons jostle for position and status: who gets to sit - literally - in father's chair? Will his grand-daughter find courage to break free from her bullying husband? There's a wonderful scene when they divvy up the small treasures in a cabinet. In the end, Jane Hervey has you feeling a grudging admiration for the mean old bastard. Jane Hervey is 95, still writing - but has never published another book. Made me wonder if there's any more like this stuffed in her sock drawer?

10 comments:

Sue said...

Mary, I loved this book. Very sly and amusing...

mary said...

It's very clever, isn't it, Sue? And so true to life!

Cosy Books said...

A thumbs-up from you is good enough for me! Sounds wonderful, Mary.

mary said...

On your shopping list for next year, Darlene?

Toffeeapple said...

Another one for my wish-list, thank you Mary.

Vintage Reading said...

One for my - is it too early to say - Christmas wishlist!

Lucille said...

Yes I enjoyed this very much. May return to it soon as I am suffering from a surfeit of Cazalet Chronicles. I have just ordered Hilary Mantel's A Place of Greater Safety. I am not an avid reader of historical novels but hope this one might help me with some family research.

mary said...

Never too early for a wiishlist!

I enjoyed A Place of Greater Safety, Lucille - but it's the size of a brick! It feels like a prototype for Wolf Hall, but she hasn't got there yet. Yoyr family must be interesting! Aristos or revolutionaries?

Lucille said...

The brick has just this minute arrived. I feel discouraged. I have an interesting great-great-grandmother Mary! Her story is fascinating but getting difficult to research at the French end. If only I had the budget and resources of the Who Do You Think You Are? team.

mary said...

Don't be discouraged, I thought it was well worth reading - I struggled to keep track of who's who because my grasp of French history has got rather rusty since my university days! Your ancestor sounds fascinating, Lucille - I'm intrigued.