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The Quilty Reader

Lawyer, mother, avid reader. Game host extraordinaire! Partner in crime to Obsidian Black Plague! My bookish weaknesses include classics, fantasy, YA, and agreeing to read more books than is even remotely possible.

Seaview House by Elizabeth Fair

Seaview House - Elizabeth Fair

I've long been an intermittent follower of The Furrowed Middlebrow (link to blog here), a blog that concentrates on books by lesser known, and in some cases long-forgotten, British women published between 1910 and 1960. When he collaborated with the Dean Street Press to bring some of these books back into print, I was curious.


Seaview House reminded me a lot of Angela Thirkell's long running and loosely connected Barsetshire series. Well written, it is a light and subtly comedic tale of manners focused around Rose and Edith, the proprietors of the titular Seaview House, a small seaside hotel. Rose and Edith have come down in the world from their roots as the daughters of Canon Newby, the beloved (by them at least) and revered (by them at least) former prelate of their village and its environs. 


The book really revolves around the romantic travails of Rose's daughter, Lucy, who has grown into quite a lovely young woman with two potential suitors: local boy Nevil and Edward, an architect who comes to town to oversee a building project. I thought from the description that there would be controversy over the building, but that sputtered into essentially nothing. There are misunderstandings a plenty, and a fair amount of tension between various characters is created by the love triangle.


There are no great questions answered by Elizabeth Fair in Seaview House. This is a slice of life story, set on the post-war Britain seaside. Nonetheless, the stuff of life is in the details, and Seaview House is often charming, while training a gimlet eye on the foibles of the inhabitants of its villages. Not even remotely appropriate for Halloween Bingo, Seaview House is a dryly delightful interlude.