I wrote about the Salzburg tales just before I broke for Christmas, but actually my first Christina Stead was For love alone, an absolutely fantasticly chunky book with an extremely engrossing plot. Unusually, it took me three days to read, partly because there was so much of it, but also because the story broke down into distinct sections (although there were no part numbers, just the usual chapters), and I wanted to savour the different parts to the story.
For love alone is the story of Teresa. Set initially in Australia, we meet Teresa. Brought up in a family where she recieves little emotional affection, she nonetheless believes that love is the most important goal in life. On reaching adulthood, she becomes a teacher, and starts evening classes in Latin. She inevitably falls in love with her tutor, Jonathan Crow, and is devastated when he goes to England to pursue his academic career. However, the pair keep in touch, by letters which take three months to reach each other, and Teresa sets on saving enough money to follow him over there. She takes a job in a factory, and virtually starves herself in order to reach her goal within three years. Her focus is amazing, but it is the thought of love which drives her. After arriving in London however, it seems that Crow is no longer very interested - Teresa is not as he imagined her anymore. Devastated she is forced to try to make her own life. Eventually, she DOES meet a man who is worthy of love, and finally grows to understand what love means, but it has been a very long journey.
I would highly recommend this VMC if you come across it - gripping and beautifully written! There are loads more Christina Steads on the VMC list, so I am definitely looking forward to them.
Two Virago covers, unusually both in the original green format. My copy is the later one with the photograph which I really like, and prefer to the original.