This is Edwardian England. 1908 the beginning of a new age and a new century but with plenty of old world customs and style - Jessie and Violet make a sparkling debut. The consequences are not quite what is expected but both will settle for what they can get. Women of this age and of this strata in society do not think about anything other than making an advantageous marriage and I was disappointed that Venetia (Violet's mother) who was so progressive where her own career was concerned took the same view of disposing of Violet to the first eligible man who came her way.
Each of the books tend to deal with a couple of characters and the others are a sort of supporting cast for them. In addition there is sometimes a very strong theme as it were in the book. This was one of those which emphasized the Suffragette movement - the enormous effort put in by a few women to obtain the franchise for all, the sacrifice and humiliation, the imprisonment and even abuse by the police was an eye opener for someone who got the franchise on a platter.
The development of railroads and the beginning of Aviation and the skepticism which faced the initial people who ventured into this new business - and the amount of opposition people had to face to progress with the development of airplanes is surprising. I suppose anything new has to be opposed before it could be accepted.
Apart from Anne and her involvement in the Suffragette movement, the other contrast was the young lives of Jessie and Violet - best friends till marriage and how their lives developed in two completely different ways - one baffling the other with its emptiness and being seemingly barren of affection and love, whilst for the other the position of glamor and aristocracy seemed more important than anything else.
The period was beautifully depicted - the position of the time being on the eve almost of the First World War - is very pronounced. Most people seem aware that change is in the air, but lots of people in society seem oblivious as to what is to come.
As usual a beautifully written novel.