Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Ordinary Families (Robertson) 85

I'm not quite sure why, it may be because I enjoyed reading Family History so much the day before, but I didn't enjoy Ordinary Families very much.

The premise was that many families are Ordinary but family life is interesting; however, I'm not sure that I really found this so in Robertson's book. It was a very descriptive novel dealing with the coming of age of Lallie, a member of one of a number of families in the book who go sailing and enjoy the outdoorsy life available to the upper middle classes in the 1930s.

Maybe I will have better luck with the other VMC by Robertson that I own, the intriguingly entitled Four Frightened People. She has written a number of other novels of which only one more is published as a VMC, Cullum.


  1. I have the other Robertson book, Four Frightened People. I just couldn't get through that one though the premise was interesting enough. I'm curious to know what you'll think of that one.

  2. Hmmm...yes. Not sure if I'll be trying this one then. I have the Sackville West so will give that one a go when I fancy a good old Edwardian family saga.

  3. Mrs B - thanks for saying that - I felt really bad for writing such a pants post but I just couldn't sum up enthusiasm. I have to say I won't be rushing to try Four Frightened People but obviously I will be reading it in due course.

    Rachel - Sackville-West is a much better bet. Especially Family History.

  4. A special thankyou! I read this book back in the 80s and quite enjoyed it. Subsquently I learned to sail, and often thought I'd like to reread the book, because so much of it revolves around sailing. BUT I had forgotten the title and author, just knew it was a Virago and had a vague memory of the cover painting. Every now and then I'd have a go at searching on the internet, without luck. Then bingo! I found your blog and searched through until I found it. I'm now happily rereading it and really enjoying it, especially the sailing sections.

    I was amazed that it turned out to be by E Arnot Robertson, because I had also read Four Frightened People and enjoyed that too. What I like about her writing is the kind of acid edge to it ... in Ordinary Families it starts out with the narrator being horribly mean to her sister, and not especially remorseful. I remember that about Frightened People too.

    Anyway, great project you have going here, and a great service to readers everywhere!

  5. Hi Hockadilly, thank you for your very kind words and thoughts on this book and I'm glad that my blog helped you to find it.

    A friend has just got me a copy of Cullum so that will be more E Arnot Robinson!

    I hope you will pop back to see the progress through the VMCs in due course.