The Witch of Exmoor – Margaret Drabble

As you know, I read Patterns in the Carpet  and really enjoyed it, so decided to read more Drabble.

I really struggled with this one. I had to renew my library copy (which is extremely unusual). I’m not sure if it was me or the book – I have been really busy…

Here is the blurb …

Freda Haxby is as famous for her writing as she is for her eccentricities. But for Daniel Palmer, Rosemary, Grace and their families, she is a monster mother. This is the story of an end-of-the-century family whose comfortable lives are disrupted by a succession of sinister events.

In this novel there is a lot of authorial intrusion. For example,

We are nearing the end. Soon we can go for the kill. Indeed, for the overkill. Frieda has killed Hilda, and we have killed Freida, and Benjamin has tried to kill himself. There will be one or two more deaths, but not many, some will survive.

I found this a bit annoying and distracting. The characters are very well-written, particularly Frieda, Benjamin and Emily. I can well imagine people having conversations about the ‘veil of ignorance’, earnestly trying to help people, but running out of patience and motivation. I want to say this is a novel for baby boomers or second wave feminists (you know the Germaine Greer generation), but that seems a bit flippant – maybe I should just say it doesn’t appeal to me.

More reviews …

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