First published in 1918 The Return of the Soldier demonstrates Rebecca West's gift for writing. Chris Baldry, charming, handsome and wealthy, returns from the war with amnesia caused by shell-shock. He has forgotten about his beautiful, spoilt wife Kitty, and devoted young cousin, Jenny. Instead his memory resides 15 years ago with his first love, Margery Allington, a woman now grown shabby, tired and poverty-stricken. Told from the perspective of Jenny, this is a brilliant short novel. If you are new to Rebecca West I also recommend The Fountain Overflows. After reading it this novel will haunt you for days - in a good way!
I wasn't sure whether I liked Elizabeth Von Arnim's Elizabeth and her German Garden at first. It seemed a lot like a gardening manual and I'd been hoping for a novel. However, as it progressed I started to enjoy it. A little like Diary of a Provincial Lady without quite the same wit and warmth.