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The Camomile Lawn

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The Camomile Lawn

By Mary Wesley

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Format: Paperback, 352 pages
Published In: United Kingdom, 01 June 2006
Behind the large house, the fragrant camomile lawn stretches down to the Cornish cliffs. Here, in the dizzying heat of August 1939, five cousins have gathered at their aunt's house for their annual ritual of a holiday. For most of them it is the last summer of their youth, with the heady exhilarations and freedoms of lost innocence, as well as the fears of the coming war. The Camomile Lawn moves from Cornwall to London and back again, over the years, telling the stories of the cousins, their family and their friends, united by shared losses and lovers, by family ties and the absurd conditions imposed by war as their paths cross and recross over the years. Mary Wesley presents an extraordinarily vivid and lively picture of wartime London- the rationing, imaginatively circumvented; the fallen houses; the parties, the new-found comforts of sex, the desperate humour of survival - all of it evoked with warmth, clarity and stunning wit. And through it all, the cousins and their friends try to hold on to the part of themselves that laughed and played dangerous games on that camomile lawn.

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A vivid and lively picture of wartime London and Cornwall as seen through the eyes of five cousins.

About the Author

Mary Wesley was born near Windsor in 1912. Her education took her to the London School of Economics and during the War she worked in the War Office. Although she initially fulfilled her parent's expectations in marrying an aristocrat she then scandalised them when she divorced him in 1945 and moved in with the great love of her life, Eric Siepmann. The couple married in 1952, once his wife had finally been persuaded to divorce him. She used to comment that her 'chief claim to fame is arrested development, getting my first novel Jumping the Queue published at the age of seventy'. She went on to write a further nine novels, three of which were adapted for television, including the best-selling The Camomile Lawn. Mary Wesley was awarded the CBE in the 1995 New Year's honour list and died in 2002.

Reviews

"Provides equal does of sex and repression in war-torn Britain with panache and pace" * The Times * "A very good book indeed...rich in detail, careful and subtle in observation, mature in judgement" -- Susan Hill "Extraordinarily accomplished and fast-moving" * Financial Times * "It's hard to overpraise Mary Wesley's novel...so tingling and spry with life that put a mirror to the book and I'll almost swear it will mist over with the breath of the five young cousins" * The Times *

EAN: 9780099499145
ISBN: 0099499142
Publisher: Vintage
Dimensions: 19.8 x 12.9 x 2.2 centimetres (0.24 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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1 review(s)
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Jacinda Kumar on
 
Adapted from the novel by Mary Wesley, The Camomile Lawn proved one of Channel Four's most successful dramas, telling an intricate story set during World War II and over two days in 1984. In this portrait of the Home Front in Cornwall and London in the Blitz, the titular lawn becomes a symbol for halcyon pre-war days, and also for a lost innocence on a personal level.

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