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Gin and Tolstoy (Summer 2018): Book 2

(6 Posts)
KeithLeMonde Sun 01-Jul-18 17:29:21

Discussion thread for group 1, book 2

KeithLeMonde Wed 04-Jul-18 15:00:18

Here's what I wrote about this book on the 50 Books thread:

"Olivia is a fantastic character, her inner monologue is subtle and real. She puts her dress on backwards and hates it (and later realises that it's not a great success anyway). She feels bad for not dancing more with a lecherous old man, and worries about the feelings of an angry, drunk young man. She hides in the loos pretending to look in the mirrors, and imagines her sister and her cousin talking behind her back. The book is a lovely period piece but at the same time it reminded me of every night out I had as a teenager ."

I love books like this which are so strongly and evocatively set in a period in the past yet feel so timeless. Reminding us that human beings don't really change much even though the world does.

Badtasteflump Sat 14-Jul-18 17:42:36

Ooh I feel quite honoured to be reading the book chosen by our 'leader' grin.

I was a little bit unsure if this would be my kind of book when I first opened it - I'd not heard of the author or the book and have to admit I've struggled to get 'hooked' onto any historical novels I've read before.

But I am really enjoying it now. It's a lovely, gentle and atmospheric book and very easy to read. I agree completely that although it's set in a very different time, Olivia's internal dialogue really resonates. I'm about two thirds of the way through now and will be sad to finish it. I will definitely be reading more from the author.

diamantegal Tue 28-Aug-18 18:00:04

I agree with Badtasteflump - at first glance this was not my sort of book. In fact I started reading it several times and just couldn't get into it.

Then one return train journey from London to Sheffield later, and I've devoured the whole thing - it just needed an uninterrupted stretch to get involved in the story.

For me, it's the second half of the book where this really gets going. I felt so sorry for Olivia, but also that pang of recognition - let's face it, we've all hidden in the toilets to escape a party where nobody's talking to us. I thought both sisters were depicted really well, in a way that was completely believable, regardless of era.

And according to the bio, the authoress went to my Cambridge college, so extra points for that one! Will get it in the post tomorrow once I've acquired chocolate....

RosehipHoney Fri 31-Aug-18 20:46:25

I was really happy to get this today. I have read it before (about fifteen years ago) when read most of her books. Think have the (auto?) biography somewhere too, which haven't read, and would follow this well. Really excited to see if it is as good as I remember! smile

Fizzywinegum Tue 30-Oct-18 16:15:13

Again this is a book by an author that I’ve not heard of before (and I consider myself to be quite well read blush)

I did enjoy the book, particularly the second part. I found it very atmospheric and enjoyed the descriptions of the other characters, the dancing and the outfits. It reminded me a bit of some of Jane Austen’s novels and A Room with a View - young females on the cusp of moving into a different phase of their lives.

The social awkwardness and worrying about wearing the right outfit and saying the right thing was also very well described.

All in all a good read smile

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