TBR Lucky Dip: May

By oldenglishrose - Last updated: Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - Save & Share - 2 Comments

As I explained in my post about reading plans for the new year, each month I’m going to be using a random number generator to select a book from my TBR pile for me to read, to help me read more widely from my shelves.

This month, the deities of www.random.org have ordained that I should read book number 775 . According to my TBR list this means that I am reading…

The House in Dormer Forest by Mary Webb

“I suppose, if one could get past your soul and look at your features, you might even be plain,” he said.  “But your soul sheds such a light, Amber.  I shall never be able to see your features.”

In the depths of Dormer Forest, nestling in a valley, lies Dormer Old House, inhabited by the Darke family, Solomon and Rachael with their four grown children: intense, idealistic Jasper, Ruby, pretty but silly, black-eyed Peter and the off one out, Amber, a girl with a genius for loving – and laughing.  There too lives cousin Catherine of the slanting eyes, whose pleasure it is to ensnare men’s hearts.  Brooding over all is the great matriarch, Grandmother Velindre, with her religious texts and reprimands, her beady eye upon the five young people in search of love and happiness.  As the fate of each unfolds it is Amber who emerges triumphant: one still June morning she is found under a blossom tree by a strange and noble man…

In this, her third novel, Mary Webb examines, with gentle wit and irony, the claustrophobia of intense family life, the crushing of the human spirit by religious and social conventions, and the powers and weaknesses of a woman’s place within them – evoking too, with her characteristic lyricism, the poetic beauty of the Shropshire Forests where all is enacted.

Once again, I’m really rather pleased with my fate at the hands of the bookish number generator.  Mary Webb is an author that I’ve been meaning to read for some time as she is one of the writers famously satirised by Stella Gibbons in her novel Cold Comfort Farm. I’ve heard lots of good things about Gibbons’ book (and I have vague memories of seeing it performed as a school play a very long time ago), so it will be good to read some of the source material that inspired it before progressing on to the parody itself.  It does suggest that this isn’t perhaps the cheeriest of books, so I’ll try to have something suitably happy lined up for afterwards.

This selection also enables me to tick another book off the Virago list, which is an added bonus.

Has anyone else read this book?

Posted in General Bumf • Tags: Top Of Page

2 Responses to “TBR Lucky Dip: May”

Comment from Verity
Time May 25, 2011 at 8:52 am

I have been struggling through Mary Webb for my VVV challenge – have not yet read this one. Think she is far better satirised…

Comment from oldenglishrose
Time May 25, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Oh dear lord, having started this book I can see why you’ve been struggling. The book is unashamedly terrible, the story is turgid and the prose is so purple it’s practically blue! I don’t know that Stella Gibbons can have had much work to do as it practically satirises itself.

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