Private Papers, Paperback Book
3 out of 5 (1 rating)


To Penelope Butler the family was all, the sole ambition of her adult life.

Three of her four daughters, however, had different ideas.

Rosemary rejected it; Jess was destroyed by it; Celia found it eluded her.

Only Emily pursued her mother's ideal, with disastrous results.

Penelope begins to record their family story as it unfolds.

But when Rosemary discovers these private papers she is enraged by her mother's distortions of the truth and proceeds to tell the story from her perspective.

From D-Day on into the turbulent post-war years, a picture emerges not only of a single family in all its complexities, but also of the changing world that shaped their lives.


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A good book, but didn't engage me as much as other books by the same author have done. It's basically a two hander, Rosemary is reading through her mother's diary-cum-memoir and interjecting with her own views on events as Penelope relates the story of her life and family from her own point of view. Generally I like to see a story told from two different viewpoints neither of which can be relied on too much and I'm also quite happy to read about characters I don't like or don't find sympathetic. Although I liked the switching of the narration, and I alternately liked and disliked both the narrators I ended up disliking pretty much everyone in the book and not caring what happened to any of them. Ultimately I was happy to put it down and move on.

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