|Front cover illustration|
by Roland Pym.
An upper-class family of siblings come of age in England in the 1930s. It's sort of like a shorter, fluffier version of George Eliott's Middlemarch. It also brought to mind aspects of Dodie Smith's I Capture the Castle - especially the setting and the romance; and (in the early part) Jeanne Birdsall's The Penderwicks, for the pleasant sense of nostalgia and the relationships between siblings while they were still quite young. The Pursuit of Love has been compared to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, but I'm somewhat abashed to admit I've only read a graphic novel adaptation of that classic, so I can only say that sounds about right: young women, skilled in the art of conversation, have romantic notions and run off with unsuitable men.
First published in 1945, the edition that I read - The Folio Society, London 1991 - has a dozen whimsical, stylish illustrations by Roland Pym. I do love to see pictures in books for adults.
The humour is what I liked best about The Pursuit of Love. Here's a bit where the sheltered eldest daughter Louisa, raised on a country estate, meets foppish men for the first time.
|Back cover illustration|
by Roland Pym.
'Where do you hunt?'
'We don't,' they said.
'Oh, then why do you wear pink coats?'
'Because we think they are so pretty.'
Even though I enjoyed the book, I doubt that I'll read the companion novel, Love In a Cold Climate. I feel like I've been there, done that. There are at least 1000 more books to read before I die.