Wednesday, 15 September 2010

I'm back... and Ann Veronica (Wells)

I've been seriously dilatory of late, with writing on this blog, and also with reading my Virago Modern Classics. After the binge of last year and the early months of this year, my reading has moved into other areas (mostly childrens books and recipe books, especially cake books). And I've struggled bloggingwise. And I don't have any spare cash at the moment to either order Viragoes from Amazon or to pick them up in charity shops. But I do mean to continue with this challenge, although perhaps at not such a rate as before, and I hope people will keep checking in on it.

What prompted me to get going again was an exciting arrival from Virago; I'm 3/4 of the way through it and am desperate to write about it, but the title is under embargo until the 7th October. I am looking forward to writing about it.

Then I remembered that I had never got around to writing about Ann Veronica, by H.G. Wells, which PaperbackReader Claire had kindly passed on to me. As I mentioned when I got it, I was quite intrigued by the title as I associate HG Wells with science fiction; this book couldn't be more different, being the story of a woman's life. Ann Veronica is, when we meet her, a 20 year old girl, living at home with her father and aunt and subject very much to the conventions of her period and her father's will. Ann Veronica however is an independent sort who decides that she has had enough (this decision follows the culmination of her frustration after she is not allowed to attend a ball that she is invited too), and leaves home to try to make her own way, much to the distress of her family. She goes to London and studies biology at the Imperial College, struggling to make her own way financially. I found the first half of the book about her struggle for independence quite gripping, but the book rather "went off" for me after she falls in love with her married teacher, and suddenly, being in love seems more important than her independence. I suppose actually, I do identify with her feelings as I have become a lot less career orientated since entering a long term relationship, but it didn't feel so satisfying in terms of this book.

It's been published lots of times, but only once by Virago in an original green edition, although I'm not too enamoured by the portrait on the front - bit ugly in my opinion!

Anyway, I still have a number of other VMCs on the TBR pile, and one on loan, so I am sure I will be getting to them in the next months. Please come back and see me :)


  1. lovely to have you back! I've had this on my bookshelf for ages, I'll have to give it a read.
    Your books have been sent, hope you enjoy them. ;)

  2. Good to hear from you again Verity. I read Ann Veronica about a year ago & I found it very interesting. One of the few Viragos written by a man, too! I've read quite a few of Wells's novels lately because I belong to a reading group that have chosen Kipps, The Island of Dr Moreau & The History of Mr Polly to read over the last couple of years. I've enjoyed his social novels much more than the science fiction but that's my personal taste anyway.

  3. Delighted to see a new VVV but understand the dwindling enthusiasm when life interferes.

    I started to read the embargoed book last night but only a few pages before I was too sleepy to continue.

    Glad you enjoyed Ann Veronica but the second half would probably fail to impress me too, even if I am a romantic.

  4. It's lovely to see you back. I'm looking forward to hearing more about this embargoed book!

  5. Ann Veronica gets a number of mentions in Virginia Nicholson's 'Among the Bohemians' that I am reading at the moment. She cites it as a great example of the fiction of the time exploring the reality of the bohemian lifestyle. I too was surprised that HG Wells had written a book like this and it really intrigued me. Thanks for posting this and looking forward to more of your blogs...

  6. Thanks for the comments guys - I think it is better to post more sporadically as then I get more comments :)

    Le - will be interested to know what you think.

    Lyn - yes, not too many VMCs written by men - I don't think I've come across many others. Some by women posing as men though!

    Claire - I think you are right, there is a time for romanticism and it just didn't fit with the rest of the message of the book.

    Kate - I can't wait to right about it :)

    Alison - I'm just reading Virginia Nicholson's Singled Out; I must look out for that volume.