Furrowed Middlebrow, Persephone, Virago, France, Rachel Ferguson, Winifred Peck

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‘You are a virgin?’

‘Yes.’

‘How dull! What’s the use of being a woman if you’re a virgin?’

‘One has to begin sometime,’ I agreed.

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Description

Recovering from an illness, Rachel, an 18-year-old art student at the Slade in London, is advised to spend a year in a warm climate. She agrees to go to France to act as companion to Cynthia, a delicate, temperamental woman whose husband is in India, and her two children, troubled 15-year-old Thalia and spoiled young Claude. Thalia quickly becomes devoted to Rachel, but their friendship is strained by Rachel’s romance with the son of a well-to-do Breton family.

Though it’s the awkward, emotional Thalia who lends the novel its title, it’s Rachel on whom the novel centers, poignantly telling the tale of her sad first love, her dawning awareness of the vagaries and dishonesties of social life, and the tragedy she is powerless to prevent.

Set in Brittany in the mid-1930s, with an excursion to the cafés and artists’ studios of Montparnasse, Thalia is a dramatic and poignant tale by the author of A Chelsea Concerto. It includes an afterword by the author’s son John Parker, and additional supplementary material.

Praise

‘Mrs. Faviell … writes with grace and sensibility; this young, new world of first experiences is brought back and set down with a fresh touch, and, while shadowed by tragedy, it is eminently pleasant to follow.’ KIRKUS REVIEWS

‘She writes with a sharpness of outline which would not shame Simenon.’ J.W. Lambert, SUNDAY TIMES

Bibliographic Data

Category: General Fiction
Publication Date: October 2016
Territories: World
ISBN: 978 1 911413 83 7 (paperback)/978 1 911413 84 4 (ebook)

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‘Take off your coat,’ said the doctor. I took it off. ‘And your dress,’ he said. ‘It’s too dangerous – the folds may catch in the debris and bring the whole thing down.’ I took off the dress. ‘Fine,’ he said shortly. ‘It’ll have to be head first. We’ll hold your thighs. Go down and see if it’s possible to give an injection. Can you grip the torch with your teeth?’

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‘You don’t want to mind about any of this,’ said the driver, waving a hand at the grey ruins and the greyer dust. ‘In a few days you’ll be so used to it that you’ll like them. Berlin’s a grand place! I’d rather be here than anywhere else in the world, and that’s a fact.’

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‘Heartrending but irresistible.’ Rosaleen Whateley, LIVERPOOL DAILY POST

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‘I can’t go back. I’d rather die—I’d rather be dead.’

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