Monday, April 25, 2016

The Summer before the War. Part One


Welcome friends and readers.
Part one of our bloggy book club will cover the first of three sections in the Summer Before the War.
I hope you are enjoying it as much as I am.  I love the abundance of dialogue.

I googled 1914, England, Teacher.  I wanted to see what Beatrice would wear.

Rye Sussex.

Rye Sussex England

This woman looks like the Queen Mum but I don't think it is.

My favorite part of this book so far is the humor.
I like Beatrice and Hugh and Agatha and John.  David is a snot but he adds to the fun.

I am a little annoyed by the descriptions of the clothes.  What do you think? Do you welcome them?
For some reason they bog me down.

I do however love the weather descriptions.

"As the heat slipped from the day..."

Some have speculated that Mr Tillingham is based on Henry James, what do you think?

Who is your favorite character and why?
Why do you think Agatha favored Daniel over Hugh?

I find the comments about women writers and a young woman Latin teacher so interesting.  Perhaps because they are being said to Beatrice, and I am so sympathetic to her, they make me cringe at the ignorance and meanness.  (So I think Helen is doing a great job writing this because it's not really new but I am seeing it as directed at me in a way.)

What do you think of Lucy?
Is she just a playing a game? Is she arrogant and manipulative?
I didn't like the white feather threat.

Please feel welcome and free to share in the comments.  
I look forward to hearing your observations and impressions.  
If you would like to talk about something I am happy to add it to this post.
Just let me know :o)

Tibi Splendet Focus



  1. Latin quote from Mother Carey's Chickens.
    For you the hearth fire glows.
    That's to make you feel welcome.

  2. How fun that you added pictures! Rye looks like I imagined and, if we added a bicycle, the last photo could be Beatrice! Enjoying the humor, too. Would love to live in a time period where people spent the summer hanging out together. It sounds wonderful! I know, I know, except for the war. :(

    Think perhaps Aunt Agatha favors Daniel as he lost his mum? So glad Daniel and Hugh are cousins and not brothers. They have a bit of a prickly relationship that would likely be way worse if they were together all the time. Perhaps even a Mary/Edith situation. Heavens, we wouldn't want that.

    My favorite part so far was the caravan of furniture being delivered to Beatrice along with the good news that she won the job. And finding out that Snout snuck a book out of school!

  3. Oh, this is so much fun! I've never been in a book club before. I just received my copy...I'll be back! Thank you for the pictures too.

  4. I've had a house guest so I am not as far along as I'd like, but I am enjoying the book very much. It took me probably 40 pages to get into the rhythm of the writing, the manner of speaking ... but now that I have, it's a joy to read.

    I rather like the clothing description, as well as the weather - I love being transported to this special time.

    Daniel is already working my nerves, but of course, he's supposed to ;-)

    Thanks for the terrific photos, Donna, and for doing this.

    Youddabest xxx

  5. Anonymous2:17 PM

    Lovely photos and just the right thing to get us into the book discussion!
    My favorite character is Hugh. He seems to really know what he wants out of be a doctor no matter what his family thinks about it. I am not a Lucy fan....she is spoiled and the white feather action makes me know she is not tolerant. The dialogue, the banter between the characters is just so spot on and often funny. Mr Tillingham must be based on Henry James. I read that Helen did five years of research for this book and she said she knew so much about Rye in that period including the plumbing. The research shows and it must help that she lived in Rye for a time growing up. On a side note: I have not heard back from Helen and left her a question on Goodbooks in addition to emailing her. In her defense, she is writing another book. ;-) Thank you for this Donna. I am looking forward to reading what others think. love and prayers, jep

  6. This week ended up being insane and I still don't have the book, but hope to share thoughts eventually. Thanks for starting the discussion. --Missy

  7. I am loving this book!

  8. Finished last night and can't wait to discuss it!! 8>)


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