Rose Aubrey is one of a family of four children. Their father, Piers, is the disgraced son of an Irish landowning family, a violent, noble and quite unscrupulous leader of popular causes. His Scottish wife, Clare, is an artist, a tower of strength, fanatically devoted to a musical future for her daughters. This is the story of their life in south London, a life threatened by Piers’s streak of tragic folly which keeps them on the verge of financial ruin and social disgrace.
Reviewed by Rebecca Willis in Slightly Foxed Issue 62.
This is the opening sentence: ‘There was such a long pause that I wondered whether my Mamma and my Papa were ever going to speak to one another again.’ Papa is the black sheep of an Irish landowning family, a brilliant but improvident journalist who gambles and speculates with any money that comes his way. He is a passionate espouser of public causes but completely ignores his responsibilities to his family. (The children adore him, not least because he builds entrancing wooden models for their Christmas presents, but he is also capable of selling his wife’s prized furniture without her permission.) Mamma is a former concert pianist, sensitive but strong, who nurtures her children’s musical abilities while just managing to maintain the household in a sort of shabby gentility on very slender means. Her character is the keystone of the book . . .
Extract from Slightly Foxed Issue 62, Summer 2019
Until I read the bit in Rebecca West’s This Real Night where one of the main characters dies, I’d never cried properly on a plane. I’ll admit to a bit of panicky sobbing during a bout of bad...Read more