THOMAS HARDY – Under the Greenwood Tree

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Kindle. Read for Ali's Hardy Reading Project.

I enjoyed his second novel greatly, in which sly Fancy sets the men of various levels of village society against each other; an improvement on his last melodramatic outing, although I felt it was a bit slight and quick to read (hard to tell on a Kindle, though!). Lovely countryside descriptions, although not as intimately woven into the plot as they will be. I'm really enjoying seeing the development and progress of his writing, reading them in order like this!

ADAM NICOLSON – Sissinghurst: An Unfinished History

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21 Jan 2011 (I either had this for a present or bought it with birthday Amazon vouchers)

A wonderful feast of a book, goiong through the history of Vita Sackville-West's beloved Sissinghurst and the plans her grandson has for it as he comes of age and embraces the partnership that it offers (this is the book accompanying a TV series that was shown last year; there's so much more satisfying detail in the book!). Some truly exquisite, and never less than lovely, writing and descriptions make this a book to be treasured and re-read – and it even makes me proud to be from the Weald of Kent!

STORM JAMESON – Women Against Men

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16 Aug 2011 – from Elaine at the LibraryThing Virago Group

I started this in All Virago All August, hence reading it out of turn.

2 novellas: "Delicate Monster" is a tale of rivalry between two writers that reminded me of Graham Greene's "The End of the Affair" in both tone and content; "The Single Heart" was a brave and forthright portrayal of the visceral effects of love and jealousy'; and "A Day Off" a single day in the life of an ageing kept woman – with flashbacks – which reminded me of Patrick Hamilton's "20,000 Streets Under The Sky". All were atmospheric and featured strong woman carving out their own lives, if not exactly cosy reads!

All of these except the last are my September reads, by the way. I've been writing reviews in my notebook but not getting them online!

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