Title: Before the War
Author: Fay Weldon
Rating: 4/5 stars
Release date: March 10th 2016
Publisher: HarperCollins Australia (Head of Zeus)
Consider Vivien in November 1922. She is twenty four, and a spinster. She wears fashionably droopy clothes, but she is plain and – worse – intelligent. At nearly six foot tall, she is known unkindly by her family as ‘the giantess’.
Fortunately, Vivien is rich, so she can travel to London and bribe a charismatic London publisher to marry her. What he does not know is that Vivien is pregnant with another’s child, and will die in childbirth in just a few months.
Fay Weldon, with one eye on the present and one on the past, offers Vivien’s fate to the reader, along with that of London between the wars: a city soaked in drizzle, peopled with flat-chested flappers, shell-shocked servicemen and aristocrats desperately clinging onto the past.
I’ve heard a few things about Fay Weldon, so going into this book got me a tad bit too excited – plus it’s set in 1920s London. I just couldn’t pass up the offer to try it out. A very interesting read. Unlike anything I’ve ever come across. I’ve only read a handful of Historical Fiction novels in my reading years, and not once was I ever disappointed!
The story is told between the past and the present – the events that occurred before, during and after Vivien’s death. It’s chock full of Family drama, wit, and lust. I enjoyed each chapter immensely. Quite honestly speaking It wasn’t anything I’d expected it to be. I have to admit, I was surprised with the amount of sexual references that revolved around the book (though they made me laugh a little), and some parts of the story just didn’t click, so overall I did have few issues with it, but nonetheless, I still I ended up really enjoying the book.
I’d say the book is less plot driven and more character focused. The characters were the main aspects of the story which was great because they’re fresh off the page unique and has a bundle of stories to tell the readers. Though I find most of them highly intolerable, they are as real as they can get and are all highly entertaining. I’m also a huge fan of the writing; very fun and humorous. In a word, this book is unputdownable (well, after the first 30 pages or so. But I swear, it gets real good.)
Thank you so much to HarperCollins (Head of Zeus) for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!