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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Review - Rose Tremain - Letter to Sister Benedicta and Annabel Goldsmith's No Invitation Required

I read a Rose Tremain last week and loved it. After that this book was a bit of an anti climax! The other book was mind boggling and kept me going from beginning to end. This was a slower book at a much slower pace!

The story involves Ruby - fat and fifty in her own words - and this seems to set the tone for her story. She has been a dutiful wife and mother, subservient to both her husband and children - now all grown up and not wanting to have anything to do with her. We see Leon her husband gravely ill after a stroke but with all appearances of surviving. The story is set in a backdrop of hospital visits and remincences of her life as a child in India - the Sister Benedicta is the nun of India who seemed to have had a hold of Ruby's heart and mind. India also has remained in the back of Ruby's mind and it is only at the end that Ruby decides to take hold of the balance part of her life and do what she wants to do.

The book brings out forcibly what most women do throughout their lives. Specially over the last few centuries. They remain dutiful daughters first, then subservient husbands and caring mothers. Nothing very wrong with that but their entire needs and personalities seem to get completely forgotton in the caring and nurturing and looking after process.

The book is a small one of just 175 pages and I finished it overnight almost!

My next book was the antithesis of the above. Annabel Goldsmith aristocratic, born with a silver spoon in her mouth and a lot of light fun to read. I had heard little of this author and my only knowledge is that she was Imran Khan's mother in law. No small wonder in a cricket mad nation like Sri Lanka where Imran Khan was pin up boy plus cricketeer par excellance!

The book is light hearted and intimate at the same time - divided into chapters of the people who seemed closest to the author and all these characters are well known. The infamous Claus von Bulow and the equally famous David Frost are part of the characters.

To get a small glimpse of British society in its higher echelons as it were this is the perfect read. A book of 177 pages in a nice big font (!!) this was a good read.

I thought Monday was going to be very busy but plans got cancelled so I have a good day for reading. It was forecast as being rather chilly but the sun has come out so its a bright day.


  1. This sounds like one book I need to read; sounds so good.

  2. This sounds like a really good and quick read. I had never heard of it so thanks for the heads up.

  3. I like the sound of that second book, I think that that one would be interesting to read

  4. I love Rose Tremain's work too, but haven't read that one. It sounds really good!

  5. I love Rose Tremain but somehow this book has passed me by. I may have to give it a try. The second book sounds absolutely delightful!

  6. These both sound good and nice that they are shorter in length. I've never read anything by Rose Tremain and I'm going to check out her work now.

  7. You DID have a good reading day! I know that you say that Letter to Sister Benedicta is slower paced, but sometimes I'm in the reading mood for a slower pace. You're absolutely right; until my generation, most women were totally subservient to the needs of their husbands and children. Shoot, even now, some women are still in that role! Thanks for the reviews!