From Publishers Weekly
Booker and Whitbread prize–winner Lively begins her 14th novel, a multigenerational love story, in a London park in 1935, ends it nearly 70 years later after covering several lifetimes of love and heartbreak. The story starts when Lorna Bradley and Matt Faraday meet in St. James Park; they are instantly drawn to one another despite her upper-crust upbringing and Matt's "tradesman" profession. After their marriage, they settle in the country where Matt works as an engraver and Lorna fulfills her domestic role as a wife and mother to their daughter, Molly. It is an idyllic situation until Matt is drafted and sent to Egypt, where he is killed in action. Lorna and young Molly relocate to London, and Lorna works with Matt's friend Lucas at his small printing press. Predictably, Lucas and Lorna marry, but she dies giving birth to Simon. The narrative diverges as grown-up Molly finds employment as a library assistant and has an affair with a wealthy man who fathers her child, Ruth. Grown and with children of her own, Ruth's curiosity about her ancestors sends her on a journey that brings the novel full circle. Lively (A Stitch in Time
; Moon Tiger
) has crafted a fine novel: intricate, heartbreaking and redemptive. (June)
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In spare, elegant prose, Booker Prize-winner Penelope Lively (Moon Tiger
, 1987) examines the nature of happiness and romantic love against the fast-moving zeitgeist of 20th-century England. Lively's characters are engaging and likable-so much so, in fact, that it can be difficult to let one generation go as the next takes center stage. A few critics lamented the swift pace and brevity of Lively's 14th novel-a whirlwind of 70 years in 258 pages-but her painstaking plotting eases the reader through the different eras she so accurately describes. The magical, passionate story of Lorna and Matt may be the most captivating, but readers will no doubt be moved by the tales of all three generations.Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.