“He looked at what he could see of her face–half turned away from him but unmistakably downcast–and tried another tack.”
This is one of the later of the Elizabeth Jane Howard books, and well, to my horror, I listened to the audiobook not realizing it was an abridged version.
This always paints me into a weird corner personally where I have to decide whether it “counts” for me to have read the book or not. Obviously, the answer is who cares, I can do and think whatever I want. But ever since I was a teenager, I have kept a running list of the books I started and never finished or worse, was assigned in a class and never finished. I think I am nearly even on the list of books I was once assigned and never read. Scanning my brain……I honestly can’t think of any in particular that jump out to me. That also took a long time to work through. I don’t feel a sense of guilt or anything, just a little empty space in my head where the book seems like it should go.
Anyway, I realized this was the abridged version when I went to post it on Goodreads and realized it was 450 pages, but only 6 hours on an audiobook. Alas.
The book begins with a husband and wife late in their marriage having a stark conversation about their current state of lovelessness and how they got there and what to do about it. This leads to a flashback where most of the book takes place in which we learn about our protagonist, Persephone, going off with her aunt to a country estate to help with a garden revival project, and getting involved herself with a local arts symposium. It also leads to a series of connections with eligible men from whom, she seems to convince herself, she must pick one to marry.