Books - Review

Showing all books by: Arnold Bennett

Story of Edwin Clayhanger, and his father Darius, who brings him up to take over the family printing business, although Edwin harbours early ambitions to be an architect. Meets Hilda Lessways with whom he falls in love, but in spite of agreeing between them a secret engagement, the next he knows of her is that she is in Brighton married to someone else. Women eh?
Jolly good, must read Hilda Lessways next.Just re-read this 12/01/09 (on my eBook reader). Enjoyed it very much and now really will go and read Hilda Lessways next. (On my eBook reader. Did I mention that I got a new eBook reader for Christmas? Well I did!)
Score: 7.5
Published: 1910
Read: September 5th 2003

Hilda Lessways
The story of Hilda's youth, from her early journalistic enterprise with the deceitful 'lawyer' George Cannon, to her involvement in the Brighton boarding house scheme with Sarah Gailey (George's half-sister), entanglement with George, and her apparent abandonment of Edwin.
Not bad, but knowing many of the plot elements (from reading Clayhanger) kind of removes any suspense. Still, interesting to hear Hilda's point of view, but her character never seems quite as real as Edwin's does. In fact mostly I just read this only to find out why oh why did she ever get involved with bigamist Cannon? This was another eBook, but annoyingly 'These Twain' (the next one) isn't available free on Gutenberg, so don't know what I'm going to do next. Might even have to buy it.
Score: 7
Published: 1911
Read: January 14th 2009

These Twain
Edwin and Hilda are married and living in the 5 Towns. Edwin spends his time developing his business, pondering on whether his marriage is successful or not, and trying to make sure he has a comfy life. Hilda spends her time working out how best to get Edwin to do what she wants him to do, although she does love him too. Various family things happen to test the strength of their relationship, and they end up moving to the countryside (which Edwin really didn't want to do). But I expect he'll enjoy it when he gets there.
Edwin reminded me of me a bit. Good chap.
Score: 8
Published: 1916
Read: September 19th 2009

Anna of the Five Towns
Anna lives at home in Bursley with her miserly father and little sister. Her simple life revolves around her church activities and keeping house, until she comes of age and her father reveals she has a substantial fortune of her own. She begins to realise just how tight-fisted her father is and her eyes begin to be opened to life's possibilities, particularly when she is wooed by Henry, one of the most popular men in town. However she also discovers that one of her inherited investments is the property leased to the Price family, struggling with debts and forever behind with the rent. She is nagged by her father to pressurise them to pay their debts but feels desperately sorry for young Willie Price, a naive and gentle soul.
Great. Fantastic characterisation and a riveting plot as Anna realises she must defy her father if she is to have her own fulfilling life. 600th book in the database :)
Score: 8
Published: 1902
Read: August 24th 2012

The Old Wives' Tale
The story of Sophia and Constance who grow up in 19th Century Burslem, daughters of Mr & Mrs Baines, the middle class owners of a drapers shop on the town square. Sophia runs away with a travelling salesman, goes with him to Paris and forces him to marry her, although that doesn't stop him abandoning her when the money runs out. Sophia works hard though, lives through the Siege of Paris (1870), and makes a financial success of herself. Back home Constance follows the path her parents might have expected; marriage, son, taking on the shop. The women meet up again late in life, and share the final part of their lives.
This was quite good, great story in Paris as we follow Sophia's life and contrast it with Constance's. Felt like a bit of a slog towards the end though.
Score: 7
Published: 1908
Read: September 4th 2012