Not long ago I was telling you about my re-reading of Elizabeth Jane Howard's Cazalet Chronicles. I've now, just this morning, finished the third book in the series and had to quickly tell you (as I'm off on holiday today) how very much I'm continuing to enjoy it. I have the fourth and final book on order, which will arrive sometime while I'm away - because tomorrow I'm going to Sicily for a week!
Anyway, yes, this is a family saga, and this volume has just taken us through the final stages of WW2. The children who featured in the first book are growing up and it's their lives in particular we get to hear about. Beautiful Louise has had to abandon her thoughts of a career in the theatre after her marriage to ghastly mother's boy Michael, who she loves less and less, and the birth of her baby who she finds it impossible to love. Polly and Clary have moved to London and are finding out what it means to be grown up. Polly falls in love with an older man who is deeply fond of her but not in 'the right way'. Clary still holds on to the impossible idea that her father Rupert, missing for most of the war, will finally return.
All this is told with such great understanding of how human beings function, with some wit but mostly great compassion. Howard wonderfully recaptures all the misery of adolescence and the privations of wartime, and shows how marriages come under terrible strain and sometimes don't survive.
This is hardly a review but never mind - I'll be back to tell you more soon. Meanwhile, if you haven't read these great novels, time to make a start now!