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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Private Papers by Margaret Forster

Private Papers

I read about this author but it was another book by the same author that I got.  Invariably for me, it is always like this. I do not get the book recommended as it is out with a huge waiting list or  never around. I take the next one available because a good author is a good author!

This did not disappoint. A download from Open Library.  I wish the site was more user friendly. They can give me innumerable choices if I type in an author I am interested in but there is no way to browse through category, era or interest. You have to know what you are looking for with this site but I do get very good books from here.

Penelope our main character is the Mother - she is also now old. Her children are all grown up and rather patronizing and condescending of her behavior both present and past. Particularly the past. Penelope was brought up in an orphanage and married very young, a doctor who volunteered in WWII and never came back. She single handedly brought up her large family and in her opinion family came first and hence she put their needs before anyone else's.

The story told in two characters both Penelope and her eldest daughter Rosemary are alternate - both overpowering strong characters who thought their way was the best. It is a story of how most families operate. A lot of give and take, a lot of forgiving and forgetting and putting aside differences for the good of all.

The story of the Butler family is told against the fabric of breakout of WWII and the massive changes that took place socially. This was particularly so for women and women of the older generation like Penelope got caught in the middle not knowing exactly what was expected of them at the present times.

This was a very intriguing read. You got caught up in the moment and wanted to slap Rosemary for her high handedness. On the other side you wanted to shake Penelope out of her implacability. Very good book.


  1. I love books set during that time period. This one sounds like it's got great characters and a great story.

  2. I had never heard of Open Library but it looks really exciting. Thanks for mentioning it :)

  3. It does sound like a good book and you wrote a great review. Thank you so much!