The Camomile Lawn moves from Cornwall to London and back again over the years, telling the stories of five cousins, their family and their friends, united by shared losses and lovers, by family ties and the absurd conditions imposed by war as their paths cross and recross over the years.
Behind the large house, the fragrant camomile lawn stretches down to the Cornish cliffs. Here, in the dizzying heat of August 1939, five cousins have gathered at their aunt’s house for their annual ritual of a holiday. For most of them it is the last summer of their youth, with the heady exhilarations and freedoms of lost innocence, as well as the fears of the coming war.
Mary Wesley presents an extraordinarily vivid and lively picture of wartime London: the rationing, imaginatively circumvented; the fallen houses; the parties and new-found comforts of sex; the desperate humour of survival – all of it evoked with warmth, clarity and wit. And through it all, the cousins and their friends try to hold on to the part of themselves that laughed and played dangerous games on that camomile lawn.
‘Provides equal doses of sex and repression in war-torn Britain with panache and pace’ The Times
Plenty to Say
A few months after my mother died, my sister and I returned home to clear out her possessions. I felt unsentimental about most of them. I readily threw away clothes, keeping only a cardigan that was...Read more