The Camomile Lawn by Mary Wesley

The effect of global conflict on hormones

This author was warmly recommended by a French friend, who was surprised that Mary Wesley was (no longer?) very popular in the UK. I certainly hadn’t picked up any of her books, but that doesn’t mean anything. I enjoyed the book and wondered whether it was authors like Mary Wesley that made my British grandmother regularly purse her lips and comment that not all the girls were going wild, during what she called The War.

I didn’t think there was anything massively original in the story of a well-to-do middle class English family and the effect that war has on its members. People getting killed all the time, both at home under the bombs and abroad as soldiers or in camps, might well lead to changes in behaviour, I wouldn’t know. However, I thought there was an almost soap opera quality to the story, you know the sort of thing: “and what happens next is, she doesn’t know who the father(s) of her children is/are, and the one who was such a womaniser turns out to have  a really genuine, caring side, and the old WWI veteran isn’t such a bore after all etc.”

It certainly made for an enjoyable read and I might well try another of Mary Wesley’s novels.

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