‘It got better, in time, though to be truthful it always felt more of a duty than a pleasure: a little like homework, satisfying when over, and done well, but never exactly enjoyable. But then nobody had ever suggested it could be otherwise.’
This was the view of Claudia Faraday, 1920s respectable wife and mother of three, on the subject of sex. That is until an unexpected turn of events shakes her out of her torpor and propels her back into the world revitalised and reawakened, where she discovers, as Marie Stopes might have said: Approached in the right way, even homework can be fun.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
I rather enjoyed this exploration of Claudia’s life when she is left alone in the family home wondering what next? Constricted by society expectations but changed in the aftermath of WW1, Claudia realises she’s missing out and that a wealth of experience awaits her if she’s open to it.
Claudia is a rule follower, sexually naive and prejudiced about anything she doesn’t understand, but this story shows her character developing in positive ways. There are parallels with contemporary society for women who feel they are invisible after a certain age.
The witty writing is sensitive and often humorous in a self-deprecating way. The author describes the 1920s succinctly with salient historical details and real historical characters. Authentic dialogue and events that illustrate this as a time of celebration and change.
Patsy Trench lives a quiet and largely respectable life in north London. Claudia’s story shows a side of her normally shy and reserved nature that is little known, even to her friends and acquaintances. Her previous books, about her family’s history in Australia, are entertaining and informative accounts of that country’s early colonial beginnings. She began writing late, and in a previous life she was an actress, scriptwriter, playscout, founder of The Children’s Musical Theatre of London and lyricist. When not writing books she emerges from her shell to teach theatre and organise theatre trips for overseas students. She is the grateful mother of two clever and grown-up children, and she is addicted to rag rugging and, when current circumstances permit, fossicking on the Thames foreshore for ancient treasure.