All passion spent had quite a lot to live up to when I started it. I had enjoyed Family History very much last week, and according to the introduction this book is reputed to be Sackville-West's best.
All Passion Spent examines the life of a woman, widowed late in life, who seizes the opportunity to do what she wants for the rest of her time. Lady Slane's children expect that she will split her time between them (thus also augmenting their incomes) but she decides to take a house in Hampstead and live privately in the countryside with her long-time servant.
Although she intends to live there in peace and quiet, and to some extent does achieve this, Sackville-West surrounds her with a number of intriguing characters. There is Mr Bucktrout the landlord, who has not let the house for years because he was waiting for the right tenant and who tries to convince her not to upgrade the house to make it more comfortable. There is Mr Gosheron, the undertaker. And there is Mr Fitzgeorge, a character from Lady Slane's past who proves that all her passion is not spent, as he awakens a romantic spark inside her.
So, was it Sackville-West's best novel? Well, I've only read one other so far so it would not be fair to say. I found this extremely well written, but I enjoyed the story in Family History more.
Apparently this was filmed, but the DVD is only available in the US, which is a shame as it has rather interesting reviews on the Internet Movie Database.
Three different Virago modern classics editions, each I suppose trying to evoke Lady Slane. The copy that I own is the bottom one. I am intrigued by the similarities of the photos used in the two later covers; I looked to see where the photo had come from on my book but it is just atributed to the Getty archive.