Mariana – Monica Dickens


I loved this book. It was definitely of its time and is probably a bit dated now.

Here is what has to say about it …

Monica Dickens’s first book, published in 1940, could easily have been called Mariana – an Englishwoman. For that is what it is: the story of a young English girl’s growth towards maturity in the 1930s. We see Mary at school in Kensington and on holiday in Somerset; her attempt at drama school; her year in Paris learning dressmaking and getting engaged to the wrong man; her time as a secretary and companion; and her romance with Sam. We chose this book because we wanted to publish a novel like Dusty Answer, I Capture the Castle or The Pursuit of Love, about a girl encountering life and love, which is also funny, readable and perceptive; it is a ‘hot-water bottle’ novel, one to curl up with on the sofa on a wet Sunday afternoon. But it is more than this. As Harriet Lane remarks in her Preface: ‘It is Mariana’s artlessness, its enthusiasm, its attention to tiny, telling domestic detail that makes it so appealing to modern readers.’ And John Sandoe Books in Sloane Square (an early champion of Persephone Books) commented: ‘The contemporary detail is superb – Monica Dickens’s descriptions of food and clothes are particularly good – and the characters are observed with vitality and humour. Mariana is written with such verve and exuberance that we would defy any but academics and professional cynics not to enjoy it.’

And I think that pretty much sums it up – definitely worth reading if you liked I Capture the Castle. I haven’t read the two others they mention in the review, but I shall be looking out for them.

Here are some other reviews …

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Filed under Fiction - Light, Recommended

One Response to Mariana – Monica Dickens

  1. Pingback: My BookClub Reviews » Blog Archive » One Pair Of Hands – Monica Dickens

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