Mariana, Paperback Book
3.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 377 pages
  • Publisher: Persephone Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Adult & contemporary romance
  • ISBN: 9781906462048

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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

Mariana is the story of a young girl growing up in England. When we meet her she has just heard on the radio that her husband's ship has gone down at sea. She then begins to recount the events in her life. From school girl follies with her cousin Denys, riding horses, her upbring by her mother and actor uncle, and vacationing at the Charbury home. We follow Mary through an actor's school in which she is pretty bad, and dressmaking and fashion design where she meets a young Frenchman who sweeps her off her feet...almost... and is later swept away by a less extravagant young man named Sam. This coming of age story was enjoyable. I wasn't sure how I would react to the flowery descriptions that I feel are always present in books written during this time. I did find that it was nice to read a story free of doom and gloom and at the same time to see that characters during this time could be human. Here was a girl who was not always prim, proper, and excelling at every venture. She struggled, she made nasty comments about people (this may just be a class issue during that time), and generally seemed to be unlikable. Mary even gets a school report saying so. To me, this is perfect. I always enjoy sassy adolescent girls and young women who seem to always be just beyond the reach of what others think they should be.

Review by

A rather fluffy and cliched romance, it is redeemed by its comic scenes and minor characters (I particularly like the vaudeville actor uncle) and by the careful recreation of 20/30s upper-middle class domesticity (including some nasty casual anti-Semitism ). The blurb compares it to 'I Capture the Castle', but its heroine is a lot more conventional, sane and snobbish; and curiously untalented for a Coming-of-Age book heroine (the only non cliched aspect).

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