Reviewed by Dee England
AUTHOR: Farah Mendlesohn
PUBLISHER: Manifold Press
LENGTH: 214 pages
Release Date: November 01, 2017
Everything changes for Ann Gray when her father dies and her closest friend Jane marries and moves away. Ann must give up the independence and purpose she found as mistress of her father’s parsonage in the country, and move to her uncle and aunt’s new-style house in the growing city of Birmingham. The friendship of Ann’s cousins – especially the mathematically inclined Louisa – is some compensation for freedoms curtailed. But soon Ann must consider two very different proposals, either of which will bring yet more change. Should she return to her village home as wife of the new parson Mr. Morden? Or become companion to the rather deliciously unsettling widow Mrs. King…?
This story is told in third person and completely from Ann’s point of view. As per the blurb, which is extremely telling, everything changes for Ann when her father dies. She moves in with her Aunt and Uncle, and whereas the noise and a busy household are unsettling, Ann’s biggest hurdle to overcome is how to fill her day. With not much more to do than mend clothes and iron, like Ann, I found myself incredibly bored.
The pacing of this story was extremely slow. There was no urgency, no hook, nothing much to keep me reading, other than the fact I accepted a review copy. The positive side of saying that is around the 80% mark this story took a surprising turn.
The ending could be considered rather unconventional, considering the relationship between the two characters who eventually, surprisingly, ended up together.
For me to love a book, I need to be able to connect to at least one of the characters and that didn’t happen in this instance, the abundance of telling didn’t help with my disconnect. Ann felt, Ann knew, Ann realized, Ann thought, etc, etc.
This wasn’t a bad book, it just wasn’t for me. If you enjoy historical lesbian fiction with an extremely languid pace, and a sex scene or two to spice it up, this could be just the ticket.