The Slaves of Solitude, Paperback
5 out of 5 (1 rating)


A welcome reissue of one of Patrick Hamilton's best, with an introduction by Doris Lessing. The Slaves of Solitude is set in a wartime boarding house in a small town on the Thames.

The Rosamund Tea Rooms is an oppressive place, as grey and lonely as its residents.

For Miss Roach, slave of her task-master, solitude, a window of opportunity is suddenly presented by the appearance of a charismatic American Lieutenant.

His arrival brings change to the precarious society of the house and ultimately, to Miss Roach herself.




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ecommended by others on LT. In 1943, in a sleepy market town by the Thames, are numerous boarding houses, long stay hotels where the dispossessed, abandoned or bombed out members of society find a room, some food and some warmth. Miss Roach, 38, a secretary at a London publishing house, finds herself at one such boarding house, the Rosamund Tea Rooms, having been bombed out of London. She muddles along with life, her daily commute into London, the routine of mealtimes at the boarding house, the bizarre targeted comments of her fellow boarded, Mr Thwaites. Her routine livens up when Miss Roach meets an American lieutenant who takes her to the pub and gets her drunk, and kisses her on a park bench in the moonlight. When Miss Roach's friend, Vicky moves into the boarding house, things take a turn for the worse as quiet Vicky is revealed to be a cruel and selfish person. I really enjoyed this novel, its depiction of skewed wartime life and the results when people are thrown together is fascinating. 5 stars - one of my favourite reads of the year.

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