Thursday, 10 December 2009
The willow cabin (Frankau) 293
The willow cabin was a VMC that I acquired without knowing anything about, and thus did not expect high things from (it's weird what makes you anticipate some books more than others). I can't even remember where I got it from. But it turned out to be a hidden gem.
The book is divided into three sections, telling the story of Caroline. In the first section, she seems set for a promising stage career - we see her perform as Viola (a speech of whom's provides the title for this book). She then meets, and falls in love with Michael Knowle, a surgeon, and her career takes second place to spending time with him and trying to evade the spectre of his first marriage and his ex-wife Mercedes. The Second World War then breaks out, and Michael is called up, and Caroline decides also to undertake war service as being the best way of trying to stay close to Michael. Unfortunately, Michael is killed in action. In the third section, we meet Mercedes, and we go back in time to when she first met Michael, and track the course of their relationship. The two stories then come together, when Caroline seeks out Mercedes as part of her attempt to come to terms with Michael's death.
I loved the story, and the period details (am always a fan of wartime fiction and this as particularly well done) and liked Frankau's style of writing very much.
Only published the once by Virago. However, they have published two other novels by Frankau - The winged horse, and A wreath for the enemy - which I shall be keenly looking out for.