#BookReview A Game of Hide and Seek by Elizabeth Taylor

About the book

Harriet and Vesey meet when they are teenagers, and their love is as intense and instantaneous as it is innocent. But they are young. All life still lies ahead. Vesey heads off hopefully to pursue a career as an actor. Harriet marries and has a child, becoming a settled member of suburban society. And then Vesey returns, the worse for wear, and with him the love whose memory they have both sentimentally cherished, and even after so much has happened it cannot be denied. But things are not at all as they used to be. Love, it seems, is hardly designed to survive life.
      One of the finest twentieth-century English novelists, Elizabeth Taylor, like her contemporaries Graham Greene, Richard Yates, and Michelangelo Antonioni, was a connoisseur of the modern world’s forsaken zones. Her characters are real, people caught out by their own desires and decisions, and they demand our attention. The be-stilled suburban backwaters she sets out to explore shimmer in her books with the punishing clarity of a desert mirage.

Published by Virago

MY REVIEW

This was the December pick for the Elizabeth Taylor Reading Project book club on GoodReads.

I found this to be a book of two halves! The first half was very slow and featured two characters in Harriet and Vesey who proved themselves to be very unlikeable people in their attitudes and behaviour towards other. But the second half, when you’d got used to their traits and self-centredness!, was typical Elizabeth Taylor as she used their situation to her benefit in showing off how times change people and their attitudes and how they’re often left regretting things they’d done.

Harriet and Vesey grew up together, and Harriet became infatuated by him but their lives went separate ways and she ended up married to Charles – a much older but safer, kinder man – but her thoughts always seemed to come back to Vesey and when they meet up again years later, those thoughts resurface. Despite Charles doing all he could for his wife, he never seemed to be good enough and he was the character I had the most sympathy for!

There was very little drama in this story, and it felt like the author was unsure of what path to send the main characters on – should they get their happy ending despite their selfish behaviour, or should they be punished and suffer! I know which outcome I would prefer them to face!

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#bookreview A View of the Harbour by Elizabeth Taylor #bookblogger

About the book

An unforgettable picture of love, loss and the keeping up of appearances. Published as part of a beautifully designed series to mark the 40th anniversary of the Virago Modern Classics.

In the faded coastal village of Newby, everyone looks out for – and in on – each other, and beneath the deceptively sleepy exterior, passions run high. Beautiful divorcee Tory is painfully involved with her neighbour, Robert, while his wife Beth, Tory’s best friend, is consumed by the worlds she creates in her novels, oblivious to the relationship developing next door. Their daughter Prudence is aware, however, and is appalled by the treachery she observes. Mrs Bracey, an invalid whose grasp on life is slipping, forever peers from her window, constantly prodding her daughters for news of the outside world. And Lily Wilson, a lonely young widow, is frightened of her own home. Into their lives steps Bertram, a retired naval officer with the unfortunate capacity to inflict lasting damage while trying to do good.

Published by  Virago Press

Purchase Links

hive.co.uk

Book Depository

waterstones

MY REVIEW

This was the October choice for the Elizabeth Taylor Reading Project – a group I belong to on GoodReads.

To be fair, I was a little overwhelmed when first reading this as the number of characters introduced in this little community was a little confusing and I often found myself turning back the pages to try and work out who was who again, but once I had a clear picture in my mind of the relationships and characteristics, I found this to be a slow but really engaging book that follows a variety of characters, not all pleasant, in a sleepy village. But their antics are far from sleepy and were an insightful look at the behaviour of people, friends and acquaintances, and how we treat people of different ages.

There isn’t much that happens throughout the book, but that is where the author works her magic as you begin to understand the characters, and the way she picks up little quirks in their ways, and how often things are happening right under your nose which makes it too difficult to see. Or maybe you do see it and you just don’t want to believe it?

At times the treatment of some characters felt quite harsh in how they were being treated by others, but by the end it became quite touching in how a community rallied round those in need, as well as the touches of humour throughout that really light up the story. 

 Very glad I got to read it – and the cover is a stunner too!

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