Chatterton Square Paperback – May 1987
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About the Author
Emily Hilda Young (1880-1949) was born in Northumberland, the daughter of a ship-broker. She was educated at Gateshead High School and Penrhos College, Colwyn Bay, Wales. In 1902, after her marriage to solicitor, J.A.H. Daniell, she went to live in Bristol, which was to become the setting of most of her novels. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
E. H. Young is a writer who deserves to be rediscovered. Her wit, ability to create fascinating characters, and clear judgement of what makes ordinary life rich and meaningful are a delight.
This is one of those novels that are frequently described as "character driven." As far as plot goes, there's not much to this book; for most of the novel, the characters sit in breathless anticipation waiting for something to happen, for the war to start (especially worrying for Rosamund, considering two of her sons could potentially participate). Where the author excels is character description, but she does it very subtlety; instead of saying that Bertha Blackett is Victorian in her mannerisms, the author says that Bertha is one of those women who should have been wearing a bonnet and bustle. With her meek, mild demeanor, constantly demurring to her husband, she's an interesting contrast to Rosamund, who's faced with a very 20th-century decision. But somehow, the two women forge a friendship together, despite Herbert Blackett's disapproval. Herbert's character lacks the comedy that many bores in fiction possess, but he's still a well-defined and interesting character.
Another thing that EH Young does very well is depicting the various relationships between her characters--married relationships, young people courting, friendships between two middle-aged people (especially interesting is the dynamic between Rosamund, Bertha Blackett, and Piers Lindsay; equally interesting is the friendship between Rosamund and Miss Spanner). EH Young depicts all of her characters and their complicated relationships with wit and insight, and I found this book to be a joy to read because of that. Because this book was written in 1947, after the war had ended, there's a fair bit of foreshadowing with regards to the war, but other than that, I really enjoyed this book.