At Lady Molly's, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (4 ratings)


The fourth novel in Anthony Powell's brilliant twelve-novel sequence, A Dance to the Music of Time


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It is 1935, Lady Molly Jeavons keeps open house for the characters from "A Dance to the Music of Time". Nick Jenkins while being not very good at film writing, meets Isobel, his wife. Widmerpool, as usual, has a crushing personal crisis. Many lovely character studies. I think the book, written in1957, wears well, and the series may soon get a revival.

Review by
‘I’ve been reading something called Orlando,’ said the General. ‘Virginia Woolf. Ever heard of it?’‘I read it when it first came out.’‘What do you think of it?’‘Rather hard to say in a word.’‘You think so?’‘Yes.’He turned to Frederica.‘Ever read Orlando?’‘No,’ she said. ‘But I’ve heard of it.’‘Bertha didn’t like it,’ he said.'Couldn't get on with it,' said Mrs. Conyers, emphatically. '1 wish St. John Clarke would write a new one. He hasn't published a book for years. l wonder whether he is dead. I used to love his novels, especially Fields of Amaranth.‘Odd stuff, Orlando,’ said the General, who was not easily shifted from his subject. ‘Starts about a young man in the fifteen-hundreds. Then about eighteen-thirty he turns into a woman. You say you’ve read it?’‘Yes.’‘Did you like it? Yes or no?’‘Not greatly.’‘You didn’t?’‘No.’‘The Woman can write, you know.’‘Yes I can see that. I still didn’t like it.’It is at this point in the series that I begin to quite dislike Nicholas Jenkins. He is so non-committal about everything, I would have expected him to be comfortable discussing Orlando, as an author himself, but the General has to forcibly drag an opinion out of him. Nick has a lot of friends' and acquaintances, but he never makes much of an effort to stay in touch with them. so they drift apart before coming together again when they meet at some social event or other. I'm not sure he actually likes any of them; he certainly takes an immediate dislike to both Erridge and Lady Molly Jeavons, and goes out of his way to annoy Quiggin while staying the weekend with him and Mona. Nick meets his future wife, Isobel Tolland, and spends most of the book studying the relationships of the people around him, from the long-lasting happy marriage of his parent's friends General and Mrs Conyers, the unlikely marriage of Ted and Lady Molly Jeavons, and the lesbian relationship between Eleanor Walpole-Wilson and Norah Tolland, to the increasingly rocky relationship of Quiggin and Mona, and Widmerpool's bizarre, doomed engagement to a twice-widowed, much older woman.
Review by

In this, the fourth volume of "A Dance to the Music of Time" Powell is close to his most magnificent best!Taken at the most basic level the novel really only recounts three or four set piece occasions (drinks at an aristocratic house in Kensington, a weekend spent in a country cottage within a landed estate, a drinks party to celebrate an engagement and Sunday lunch in a gentlemen's club), but from such relatively modest material Powell weaves a glorious tapestry of social observation, wry humour and political commentary.I have lost count of the number of times that I have read this novel (and, indeed, the whole sequence) yet still I found new facets to wonder at. As ever, though, one learns next to nothing about the detail of the narrator's life: at one point Jenkins remarks, "I was then at that stage of life when one has published a couple of novels ..." The last that we had heard of this aspect of his life was in the preceding volume ("The Acceptance World") when he was keen to try his hand at writing, but unsure of the best material with which to work.Jenkins' bête-noire, the loathsome yet beguiling Kenneth Widmerpool, is absent for the greater part of this novel but he does eventually make his customary mark, bursting upon the haut monde scene with the announcement of his engagement to fast-living socialite, the Honourable Mildred Blaides. New territory for our Kenneth, and the reader is intrigued to know how he will take to the domestic lifestyle. Meanwhile Nick Jenkins has his own amatory thunderbolt moment.Read it and enjoy!

Review by

This is a very addictive read and lots of fun. The characters are very entertaining and it's like watching a soap opera unfold on paper. I can't wait to read the next book in order to follow what all these characters are up to.