From Library Journal
Dorothea May is a typical Brookner heroine, a not atypical comment in a review of Brookner's works, for Brookner is nothing if not consistent in delivering a certain kind of novel: finely crafted portraits of lives that aren't exactly blighted but are constrained and gray. Mrs. May has lived alone since the death of her beloved husband, whom she married rather late in life, and if she regrets not having children, she keeps her feelings well under control. Then her husband's cousin asks her to put up a young man arriving in town for the wedding of the cousin's granddaughter?a big, spoiled girl from America who has flown in casually with her crusading Christian husband-to-be and doesn't appreciate the fuss. When her unwanted guest arrives, Mrs. May tries to make it clear that he is hardly welcome but is somehow charmed by his insouciance. This would not be a true Brookner novel if Steve were a whirlwind sweeping Mrs. May into his grip, and he's not; he's a rather affectless young man, but his presence subtly changes Mrs. May, making her feel that she is "now being called to account" and ruining years of carefully constructed habit. The result is a charming, incisive little novel that won't sweep readers off their feet, either, but will make them rethink how locked into habit we all become. For most collections.-?Barbara Hoffert, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Ms. Brookner's latest novel follows what has become virtually a formula for this author. A loner leading a life of boring routine is jolted out of the rut by an unexpected force. The loner in this instance is a widow whose contact with the human race has been reduced to her late husband's female cousins and their spouses. These people are all seventy or so; they have nothing to worry about but their health, and nothing to do but decide where to spend the August holidays. When an American-raised granddaughter insists that she be married in England, the poor old coots react as though the sky had fallen on them. That the American invasion does them all good comes as no surprise. A touch of salvation is part of the formula.