The Rosemary Tree by Elizabeth Goudge (1956)

Elizabeth Goudge’s children’s novels have many admirers, but our reading group found her adult novels pretty heavy-going. Jane wrote of The White Witch: ‘Oh dear! I was ploughing through it but it’s like trying to swim in treacle. Heady with simile, smeared with cloying descriptions, dobbed all over with an overdose of adjectives and adverbs … Continue reading

White Fang by Jack London (1907)

Review by Helen N This was quite a hard read for me. If it is not inappropriate to talk about gender-specific books, this is very much a man’s book. Particularly at the time it was written it would have been written for a masculine audience, who would have had experience of hunting and working with … Continue reading

A Son of the Sun by Jack London (1912)

Review by Sylvia D A Son of the Sun is a collection of short stories, all of which originally ran in the Saturday Evening Post in 1911 and all of which feature the adventures of Captain David Grief, a self-made fleet and plantation owner plying his trade in the South Pacific. Grief owns a number … Continue reading

The Scarlet Plague by Jack London (1912)

Review by George Simmers (see his Great War Fiction blog here) First published in London Magazine in 1912, then in book form by Macmillan in 1915. In The Scarlet Plague the human race has been all but wiped out by a devastating epidemic, an apocalyptic theme that has become popular in later science fiction. Jack … Continue reading

Whom God Hath Joined by Arnold Bennett (1906)

Review by Sylvia D: Whom God Hath Joined is one of Arnold Bennett’s Five Towns novels.  It is a powerful read with a strong social message.  It is also a novel that could not have been written today. Lawrence Ridware is a legal clerk in a small solicitor’s practice in Hanbridge (Hanley).  He and his … Continue reading

The Vanguard: A Fantasia by Arnold Bennett (1927)

Review by George Simmers: The Vanguard is one of Arnold Bennett’s lighter novels, a story of the (mostly good-humoured)  rivalry between two very rich men. Septimius Sutherland, a financier visiting Naples, is tricked into boarding a luxury yacht, which then sets sail, effectively kidnapping him. The owner is an even  richer man, Lord Furber, who for unclear … Continue reading

Riceyman Steps by Arnold Bennett (1923)

Review by Helen N: I found the book very easy to read. Bennett’s style is straightforward and he paints a vivid picture of the Clerkenwell area of London just after the First World War. There is a small cast of people: Henry Earlforward, a reclusive and miserly bookseller and Mrs. Violet Arb, a widow,  meet … Continue reading

Clayhanger by Arnold Bennett (1910)

Next some reviews of a very well-known novelist, Arnold Bennett (1867-1931). Probably the most well-known novelist we have read in the 1900-1950 reading group, Bennett was greatly enjoyed by most members of the group. I know Bennett best not for his novels, but for the way he was regarded in the 1920s and 1930s by Virginia … Continue reading