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moonlightreader

Moonlight Reader

Welcome to 2019! 

Currently reading

Fortunes of War: The Balkan Trilogy
Rachel Cusk, Olivia Manning
Partners in Crime: A Tommy and Tuppence Collection
Agatha Christie
Our Spoons Came from Woolworths
Emily Gould, Barbara Comyns

The Bachelor by Stella Gibbons

The Bachelor - Stella Gibbons

I had planned to read this one for a 1944 club on my blog but ran out of time. This is my second Gibbons, and I have not yet read her most celebrated work Cold Comfort Farm - the first one I read was called Nightingale Wood, which I read a couple of years ago.

I think I liked this one a tiny bit better than Nightingale Wood, although it has some of the same issues that I stumbled on in that one. It's set during WWII, so the characters are on the homefront during the active fighting, but they scarcely seem to notice that there is a war on. There is some talk about the blackout, and a bit during a barrage, and a couple of the characters have war work that they are engaged in, but for the most part the three main character's lives go on much as they do during peacetime. I'm not sure if this is an accurate depiction of the way that money can smooth all of the rough edges off the world, even during WWII, or if it is a bit of wishful thinking on the part of Gibbons. I tend to think the latter.

It is a bit of a romance, although not in the genre sense, with the characters coupling off all over the place. My issue with The Bachelor is that I found only one of the pairings even remotely appealing or plausible. Gibbons writes flawed characters, which isn't a problem for me, but also writes characters who need a swift kick in the ass. The only characters I particularly liked were Betty and Alicia, and I actively disliked Vartouhi and Constance and found them unconvincing. Richard and Kenneth (the titular bachelor, btw) were pleasant enough, if a bit wet.

The writing is a pleasure to read, however, and the descriptions of Sunglade, the home where most of the "action" takes place, are beautiful. I will definitely read more Gibbons, because no matter my issues with her novels, they are worth reading.