Monday, 15 February 2010

Love (von Arnim) 297

My Valentine's Day reading had to be Love by Elizabeth von Arnim. It's very different from her other books, and didn't quite provide the fluffy, escapist, almost chick-lit read that I was anticipating. Love tells the story of Christopher and Catherine who meet at the theatre; Christopher is on his 36th visit to the play that Catherine is seeing for the ninth time. Inevitably they fall in love. Such a romantic start seemed promising, but the story was much darker and complicated. Catherine is considerably older than Christopher and the book turns into a discourse on the issues of age-gap relationships - she is concerned about her looks, what her friends and family will think, and she already has a daughter who is about Christopher's age.

The novel was wonderfully executed and I thought that Arnim handled the subject matter extremely well; it was indeed a very very good book which I would recommend to all fans of Arnim and those who have not read any of her books. According to the introduction, it is based much on Arnim's own experience, being written just after she had had her own age-gap relationship, and I think that this knowledge and awareness really shows through in the writing.

It's been published twice by Virago, and I own the more modern cover which may have contributed to my belief that it would be a light, Valentine-appropriate read.


  1. Interesting. Sounds a bit grim for Valentine's Day, but it also sounds like a very good book! I've not read any of her work.

  2. You MUST read some Von Arnim - she is really highly recommended.

  3. Sounds like a very interesting read about a subject that I imagine wouldn't have been discussed in polite society at that time... I've not read any of her work but will now google her!

    I much prefer the original book cover.


  4. I loved The Enchanted April. Will add this one to my list!