Thursday, 14 October 2010

Honourable estate (Brittain)

We're in the middle of watching the TV adaption of Testament of Youth (it's getting to the remembrance time of year) and I remembered that I had Honourable Estate on my VMC TBR. It's been there a while, because it's a bit of a chunkster, and what a shame to leave it languishing as I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Owing to personal circumstances, it took me a good week to get through it, but I felt really quite satisfied when I finally put it down.

How to summarise? Well, as I said to my fiance, when he asked me what it is about, it's impossible to relate in short, 584 pages of densely written fiction. It's a book about three different generations of men and women; the women are characterised as desiring more than a traditional female role, leading them to become involved in the suffragette movement. The book culminates with one of them being elected one of the first female members of parliament.
It's not as good as The dark tide, and certainly not as good as Testament of Youth, but I loved it for its depictions of Oxford, for the writing about the First World War, and above all for the love story which develops in the second half of the book. It's a book about feminism, suffragetism and pacifism; if you're interested in any of these things, then do read this book and don't be put off by the size, it will draw you in.

It's a fairly late VMC, and as such has only been published the once with a modern cover.


  1. ah, yet another book on my tbr pile. You make me feel thouroughly lazy verity.

  2. I want to read this - I'd be interested to see how Vera Brittain's writing style translates to fiction. One for when I get back to England!

  3. Don't feel lazy LE - it took me forever to get to this one!

    Rachel - I think her other, more well known book, The dark tide is probably better than this one, but suspect you'd enjoy it anyway.

  4. This sounds really good. But mostly I'm excited to discover that there's a film version of Testament of Youth! Must see if I can find a copy of that floating about the internet.

  5. Kate - I hope you can get a copy!