Thursday, 18 February 2010

Mr Skeffington (Arnim) 391

Having enjoyed A pastor's wife so much, it wasn't going to be long before I picked up another Elizabeth von Arnim. I wanted to go for the Caravaners, but having spotted Mr Skeffington in a charity shop, my choice was made for me. It seems that I will be makingmy way through her "other" novels before reading the Garden ones and The enchanted April as a colleague has next offered to lend me Vera.

The book starts: "Fanny, who had married a Mr. Skeffington, and long ago, for reasons she considered compelling, divorced him, after not having given him a thought for years, began, to her surprise, to think of him a great deal." and this seems to sum up this rather quirky read. Fanny, Mrs Skeffington, approaching her 50s, suddenly finds herself plagued by thoughts of her ex-husband and then sets off on a trail to visit her previous lovers in an attempt to come to terms with reaching middle age.

I didn't quite enjoy it as much as A pastor's wife, but the storyline certainly had me hooked. I particularly loved the part set in Oxford, because I could imagine exactly the places that Fanny was visiting. I find Arnim's writing style witty and an absolutely pleasure and I am very much looking forward to encountering her more famous works.

As far as I can see, this book has only been published once, with this green cover, which is the one that I picked up. I thought this book was not to be confused with the 1944 film starring Bette Davis, but apparently the film is based loosely on it, although the action has been moved from England to the US!


  1. I am so glad that you are making readers aware of the excellent Virago series and the sometimes obscure woman writers who they published. I read them during the early eighties and have never forgotten them.

  2. Vera is a strange and very affecting book. I don't think anything has got to me so much for years. Hope you find it as compelling.

  3. Thanks for popping by Kendra - it is a fun project! Which were your favourites?

    Hayley - I am looking forward to reading it but fear that I may have to ration my Von Arnims..

  4. I am definitely rationing my Von Arnims (although glad there are a number of VMCs in her name) and this is on my watch list.

  5. I love the film Mr Skeffington but had no idea {however loosely} was based on a book. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.