THE LARDNERS AND THE LAURELWOODS by Sheila Kaye-Smith

THE LARDNERS AND THE LAURELWOODS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This is an old-fashioned story, where the problems have a Victorian flavor of conservative county England:- shock technique applied to the question of the line of cleavage between social classes. I wonder just how wide an American market will be. The characters themselves lack the substance, the universality of, for example, the author's own Joanna Godden. The Lardners are substantial, self-respecting country people, who- for two generations- have accepted the Laurelwoods as their ""gentry"", and gladly shared their fates,- birth and death, romance and disaster, always with an unquestioned deference and sense of a line that separates the classes. The ""new house"" during the summers, is home for the Laurelwoods, while the Lardners serve them. Suddenly comes a break- unexplained. And twenty years later the Laurelwoods return- try to recapture the old magic- to reaffirm old bonds- to rebuild the past. But it can't be done that way. So- on two levels of time, we follow the story of the relations between Diana, clutching at memories of youth and romance -- only to find Dick an ageing alcoholic; Meg, failing to find her childhood idol in Bess, substantial farmer's wife; Martin, reluctant even to believe he ever thought he'd rather be a farmer than a banker. The story is oddly set in a vacuum-one has no sense of life outside.

Pub Date: Sept. 17th, 1947
Publisher: Harper