Monday, 8 March 2010
The friendly young ladies (Renault) 147
I read The friendly young ladies, the only Mary Renault published as a Virago Modern Classic, at the beginning of last year, shortly before I embarked on this challenge. But I remember greatly enjoying it.
The story of Elsie, a young Cornish girl who is stifled by living in a small village with her parents, it relates what happens, when on the advice of a man who she has fallen in love with, she runs away to London to live with her sister. Her sister's life bears a huge contrast to Elsie's convention existence - Leo lives on a houseboat with another woman and writes Westerns for a living. The book reveals what happens when Elsie encounters this bohemian lifestyle and how it changes her and in turn she changes Leo. Apparently Renault wrote this in part as a response to Radclyffe Hall's The well of loneliness which is a much more intense and depressing book about lesbianism, and I think she succeeded in showing a different side to it.
The edition I had from the library was the most recent one, which I feel really evokes the charming, holiday-like nature of the book. Do check this one out! 3.5*