Thursday, 12 June 2008

Loving Without Tears by M J Farrell (Molly Keane)

I read this fairly soon after Devoted Ladies, which it echoes closely in theme if not in plot. Camp handsome serving men; thwarted powerful women; ignored and ridiculed weaker women with silly nicknames and physical disadvantages; beautiful American vamps. Probably they need to be read further apart. But it runs along well, amusing and cruel, and Angel, the controlling mother, is finally vanquished in a satisfying set piece. A great sense of place is invoked without much physical description; you can almost smell the salt. Very satisfying too is Keane's use of inexplicable terminology (what is a carnation rabbit?) which the reader quickly accepts as part of the language of the book and the characters.

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