My first foray into Susan Hill was disappointing. I was more disappointed in myself for not liking her book after all the hype. This time around things were different.
The book set in classical English style in Cambridge mainly with a side dish of the Fens with the main character of Thomas - reclusive, erudite scholar. The unusual part for me was that the other characters were not subservient to the main - Kitty, Florence, Georgiana, Mrs Gray, Mrs. Loveday and even Alice (the maid) were flesh and blood people who were in your face all the time so that Thomas's character was often overshadowed by one or the other.
Thomas falls irrationally in love with Kitty - 15 year old innocent girl just returned from India. He is at turns appalled, and rejuvenated but he also knows how society would look at him - a 55 year old Master in his college turning to a 15 year old girl for love. Then there is Florence widowed young, rich and in search of a husband she could be proud of, Georgiana Thomas's sister who does not know what she wants, tries to push him into a relationship with Florence and fails and is miserable throughout the book (almost throughout the book actually).
The writing is beautiful, the actors in this little book are brilliant. Emotions in all its forms are depicted very well. Human passions both good and bad - love in its purest form, envy, misery, greed are all thrown into the book. The story draws you in. Its a simple story of love and tragedy told the Susan Hill way.