Bought 1988?

The Virago Group in LibraryThing were having an All Virago, All August challenge and, while I knew I couldn’t fit many in, with a heavy proof-reading schedule and a large TBR, I thought I could manage one or two.  There was some talk about this one, and I knew I’d liked it when I first read it, so I picked it up to read.

I must have bought this soon after its 1988 publication, as it dates from my short – but passionate – phase of covering paperbacks with that sticky-backed, clear film (the one that comes with a square-printed backing sheet).  No date of acquisition written in, but I stopped doing this when I went to University in 1989.

So, to the book.  It was different from how I remembered. Not worse, just different.  Elizabeth very clearly and emphatically does NOT do the gardening herself; she’s not a man, so she can’t wield a spade (honestly, it says that).  And the print is quite large and the margins quite large too, so it doesn’t last very long in the reading.  And some of the sentiments – particularly about how the working class woman is calmed with a good beating, while the middle-to-upper-class woman just gets in a state – while I assume tongue in cheek, were a bit shocking (especially in a Virago book!)  But the descriptions of friendship and – of course – gardening are just as lovely as they were the first time I read this, and I have a bit more experience gardening myself, now, which helps.