During a summer festival in an English spa town Miles Quentin, a distinguished actor, and his devoted wife become friendly with the local MP Geoffrey Thornton, and his young daughters Robin and Kit. All of these attractive, intelligent and busy people seem untroubled at first. But the surface of their lives conceals problems which start to come to light after the Quentin's return to their London theatre world and the Thornton's to their Westminster home. This leads to an unconventional love story in which loyalty may prove more important than love.
It Ends with Revelations deals with complex issues of love and commitment, while retaining elements of the light hearted comedy of I Capture The Castle and the nostalgic charm of The Town in Full Bloom.
As ever, the vivacity of Dodie Smith's writing and the warmth of her characters will keep readers guessing until the last page.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 288 pages
- Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
- Publication Date: 15/03/2012
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9781780333021
Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.
Review by Sakerfalcon
I am still trying to figure out my reaction to this book. It is told from the viewpoint of Jill, who is married to an actor, and follows what happens after they meet a widowed MP and his two daughters. Everything seems nice and sunny on the surface, but as the book goes along we see secrets revealed, and our perceptions of characters and our sympathies shift with each chapter. Much of the book refers to the theatre, and a lot of the dialogue seemed to me as though it could have come from a play - the characters do talk a lot about their thoughts and feelings. The ending came as a bit of a shock to me, and I felt myself getting quite angry at how other people basically decide Jill's future for her - this is a 34 year old woman, not a young girl! A couple of characters who I had greatly liked up to that point suddenly appeared to be absolute monsters! The implied outcome at the end of the book is the one that many readers will have hoped for from the start, but it is how it comes to pass that makes it bittersweet. I'm quite sure that this is what Smith intended, but it did surprise me after the essential niceness of the build up. Recommended, although the discussion of homosexuality seems a bit dated.
Review by phoebesmum
Miles Quentin, a distinguished actor, is starring in the out-of-town opening of a play of which no-one has very high hopes. While Miles rehearses, his wife Jill, who acts as his personal assistant, makes the acquaintance of Geoffrey Thornton, the local MP, and his two excessively precocious daughters. Both families become very fond of one another, but before long Geoffrey is making it obvious that he has more than a friendly interest in Jill – an interest which, in spite of herself, she has to admit she reciprocates.The elephant in the room is that Miles is gay, and his marriage to Jill has never been consummated. Even so, they’ve been perfectly happy for ten years. Does Jill really want to take the risk of destroying their happiness?Written and set in 1967, this is very much a period piece – in some ways, in fact, it seems much more dated than far older novels on a similar theme. Everyone concerned is very careful not to give offence when discussing homosexuality – as it is always referred to; the word ‘gay’ hadn’t come into common parlance at that time – but, even so, some of the things they come out with rather make one shudder. Even the devoted Jill is perfectly capable of suspecting Miles of paedophilia; Miles’s agent candidly admits that he doesn’t understand his queer clients; and Geoffrey quite clearly considers Jill fair game because her husband isn’t – there are not enough quotation marks in the world – a “proper man”.These problems notwithstanding, the writing has Dodie Smith’s trademark sparkle, and her insider’s knowledge of the theatre is, as ever, fascinating.