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We can thank Martin Amis for this wonderful four book series - his stepmother EJH felt she didn't know what she should do with her writing and he suggsted that she write a saga. This story of a middle class family of timber merchants, friends and servents from the years just before the war up to the war's end is the result.

 

The series starts off in 1937 where the Brig and the Duchy, patriach and matriach of the family are still weilding a considerable control over their children and grandchildren and finishes with the grandchildren grown and growing up, making mistakes and looking to a new future. As alwys EJH's writing is superb but what I think really sets these books apart from others that cover a similar period is her attention to detail and her suberb charecterisation = there are a lot of characters, they are all quite distinct and you never get get muddled. They're also very human, even the ones who send a slight shiver of repulsion down your spine are not entirely bad and no-one is perfect either.

 

They're all quite chunky books and are a treat to be savoured and enjoyed. I first read them in the 90's and was totally gripped. Last week I decided I'd start re-reading them and they're every bit as enjoyable as they were first time round.

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There are actually 5 books in the series , EJH completed the last one not long before she passed away.  I hope to start reading them once I've finished with the Poldarks!

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Yeah I know but I don't really count it - it was written some time afterwards, jumps about 10 years and doesn't have the same narrative drive. So it's really a quartet with an add-on!

 

Incidentally I searched for the Cazalets and Eliabeth Jane Howard and came up with one refernce to another book. I see now there have been several posts - the BGO search engine strikes again!

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