Saturday, 30 August 2008
More Elizabeth Taylor
A View of the Harbour focuses on the inhabitants of the unfashionable end of a small seaside town. Beth writes novels which absorb her to the extent that she fails to notice her husband's affair with her best friend Tory who lives next door. The beautiful Tory's main pre-occupation is her wardrobe and her immaculate hyacinth-scented house. Prudence is Beth's highly-strung teenage daughter who is obsessed with her Siamese cats. Mrs Bracey is a loud-mouthed busy-body who likes to bully her daughters and observe the goings-on in the town. Just when you think that there is a fundamental unpleasantness to most of the characters in this novel they present their human side. Tory sobs when she sends her young son off to boarding school. Beth's maternal nature asserts itself over her writing career and Mrs Bracey is wracked with pain and ill-health. My favourite character is Beth's five-year old daughter, the adorable Stevie, who loves to give home-made presents made from flowers, feathers and broken jewellery threaded with wool. An absorbing and enjoyable read.