The Soul of Kindness, Paperback Book
3.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


"Here I am!" Flora called to Richard as she went downstairs.

For a second, Meg felt disloyalty. It occurred to her of a sudden that Flora was always saying that, and that it was in the tone of one giving a lovely present.

She was bestowing herself.'The soul of kindness is what Flora believes herself to be.

Tall, blonde and beautiful, she appears to have everything under control -- her home, her baby, her husband Richard, her friend Meg, Kit, Meg's brother, who has always adored Flora, and Patrick the novelist and domestic pet.

Only the bohemian painter Liz refuses to become a worshipper at the shrine.

Flora entrances them all, dangling visions of happiness and success before their spellbound eyes.

All are bewitched by this golden tyrant, all conspire to protect her from what she really is.

All, that is, except the clear-eyed Liz: it is left to her to show them that Flora's kindness is the sweetest poison of them all.


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This was originally published in 1964; the copy I read was the Virago Modern Classic with a 1983 introduction by Philip Hensher. This was my first sample of Taylor’s writing and I was slightly disappointed: the writing is beautiful but the story didn’t live up to the cover hype.Yes, Flora is a spoiled brat masquerading as everyone’s golden girl,“It’s so miserable of everybody. I thought it would please them to be asked. It would please me. And if I were in their place, I’d do anything rather than spoil my happiness.”But the cover and the intro promised something almost sinister.I’ll definitely try Taylor again, but I rate this 3½ stars.Read this if: you feel you’re being manipulated by someone in your life – perhaps looking at an objective situation will help you gain perspective – and tools to snip the strings.I read this as this month’s random pick from my TBR wish list spreadsheet of 2,323 items for the Random Reads Challenge hosted by I’m Loving Books.

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