PERIOD PIECE by Gwen Raverat

PERIOD PIECE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Daughter of an American mother and an English father and granddaughter of Charles Darwin pens her tart to tender reminiscences of a childhood in Cambridge -- and includes her own innocent illustrations. Mother's letters (with their wide open spelling) to her family in the United States background the progression of her rugged attitude towards new customs, people and life; Mother's educational and health theories take up a large part of dearly remembered days which include governesses, boarding school, the house by the water, Newnham Grange; but, for all her American unorthodoxy, Mother's strictures are quite in keeping with the proprieties of the period. And there are the relatives -- aunts and uncles and their households -- all a little lunatic or absurd but each with some endearing quality. Naturally the sheltered era bred Ladies and Gentlemen; you considered The Horses and the servants; children were chaperones during a courtship; youngsters led and lived their secret lives. English social history here is identified with university, London and country backgrounds and is recalled with honesty and affection and a feeling for the ridiculous. Very nice.

ISBN: 0472064754
Publisher: Norton