Mariana by Monica Dickens is a charming coming-of-age story very much in the style of Dodie's Smith's I Capture the Castle.
Monica Dickens wrote one of my all-time favourite books One Pair of hands, which is THE book that I always read when feeling down - it never fails to make me smile, so I came to Mariana with some anticipation. Mariana was her first novel, following the huge success of One pair of hands.

Written in 1940, the story is told in flashback. The heroine Mary is staying at an isolated cottage when she hears the news on the radio that her husband's ship has been sunk. Unable to contact anyone until the morning, she looks back on her life and relationships leading up to her parting with her husband at the outbreak of the Second World War.

An idyllic middle-class childhood in the countryside, life with her dressmaker mother, and actor uncle; an unsuccessful stint at drama school, followed by a whirlwind romance in Paris, before finding the man of her dreams in unexpected circumstances. The story is charming, romantic, and to a certain extent autobiographical, so it does have some of the same charm as One pair of hands. It's also often quite humorous infused with the same style of humour as One pair of hands. It's certainly not intellectual, it's definitely light-reading, but it's great for rainy days or a lazy Sunday. Very enjoyable.


Aarti said…
Oh, this sounds wonderful! I am going to put this and One Pair of Hands both on my wishlist. I love the pre-WWII era (and the war itself is fascinating to read about in fiction, too- the home front.)

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