Consequences

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Overview

Consequences is a love-story-times-three that opens on the eve of the Second World War, with a chance meeting in St. James's Park, London. Wholly in love, Lorna and Matt leave the city for a cottage in a rural Somerset village. Their intimate life together is shattered when the war begins and by Matt's tragic death in action.

Twenty years later, their daughter, Molly, happens upon a forgotten newspaper—a seemingly small moment that leads to her first job and, eventually, a ...

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Consequences

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Overview

Consequences is a love-story-times-three that opens on the eve of the Second World War, with a chance meeting in St. James's Park, London. Wholly in love, Lorna and Matt leave the city for a cottage in a rural Somerset village. Their intimate life together is shattered when the war begins and by Matt's tragic death in action.

Twenty years later, their daughter, Molly, happens upon a forgotten newspaper—a seemingly small moment that leads to her first job and, eventually, a pregnancy by a wealthy man who wants to marry her but whom she does not love. But it is her own daughter, Ruth, who begins the journey that will take her back to 1941—and a redefinition of herself and of love.

Told in Lively's incomparable prose, Consequences is a powerful story of growth, death, and rebirth and a study of the previous century—its major and minor events, its shaping of public consciousness, and its changing of lives.

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Editorial Reviews

Nancy Kline
Consequences, despite its shadows, is also a joyous ever-widening dance. At its center shimmers the idea of resiliency, of the continuity of humankind as embodied in one family, shattered and reconstituted, fragile, stubborn, enduring.
— The New York Times
New York Times Book Review
Joyous . . . At its center shimmers the idea of . . . the continuity of humankind as embodied in one family, shattered and reconstituted, fragile, stubborn, endearing.
Los Angeles Times Book Review
A bold, lovely book.
San Francisco Chronicle
An often beautiful novel of astute observations.
Publishers Weekly

Booker and Whitbread prize–winner Lively begins her 14th novel, a multigenerational love story, in a London park in 1935, ends it nearly 70 years later after covering several lifetimes of love and heartbreak. The story starts when Lorna Bradley and Matt Faraday meet in St. James Park; they are instantly drawn to one another despite her upper-crust upbringing and Matt's "tradesman" profession. After their marriage, they settle in the country where Matt works as an engraver and Lorna fulfills her domestic role as a wife and mother to their daughter, Molly. It is an idyllic situation until Matt is drafted and sent to Egypt, where he is killed in action. Lorna and young Molly relocate to London, and Lorna works with Matt's friend Lucas at his small printing press. Predictably, Lucas and Lorna marry, but she dies giving birth to Simon. The narrative diverges as grown-up Molly finds employment as a library assistant and has an affair with a wealthy man who fathers her child, Ruth. Grown and with children of her own, Ruth's curiosity about her ancestors sends her on a journey that brings the novel full circle. Lively (A Stitch in Time; Moon Tiger) has crafted a fine novel: intricate, heartbreaking and redemptive. (June)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

This new novel by award-winning British author Lively (Moon Tiger) begins in the 1930s as Londoners Lorna and Matt meet, marry, and move into a rural English cottage, where daughter Molly is born. When Matt dies in battle during World War II, the shattered Lorna moves back to London to live with Lucas, Matt's business partner and friend. When subsequent loss occurs, the narrative shifts to Molly, now a smart, independent young woman looking out for her younger brother and stepfather while making her way in the working world. Later, as Molly negotiates midlife, the narrative shifts again, settling on Molly's daughter, Ruth, a journalist who is married with two children and yet yearns for happiness. Both in linear progression and through the resonance of past and present, this story pulls the reader along with captivating characters whose lives seem achingly familiar. Additionally, the story has a subtle thread about how family legacy can deepen one's perception and appreciation of life. Recommended for both public and academic libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ2/15/07.]
—Maureen Neville

Library Journal
Life is bliss for Lorna and Matt until World War II comes along; daughter Molly has baby Ruth in Sixties London; and Ruth looks back on their twisted pasts. With an online guide. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Three generations of independent women in a single family are fortunate enough to meet the loves of their lives. Applying her gift for seamless and addictive prose to matters of the heart, the Booker Prize-winning British writer's 17th novel (Making It Up, 2005, etc.) is a well-crafted, soft-centered object lesson in the random yet unique business of meeting Mr. Right. Well-bred Lorna Bradley bumps into gifted wood-engraver Matt Faraday in London's St. James's Park in 1935 and marries him against her snobby parents' wishes. A few brief years of idyllic happiness-including the birth of daughter Molly-ensue, in a picturesque but unmodernized cottage in Somerset before World War II intervenes, eventually claiming the life of Matt in Crete. Heartbroken, Lorna turns to printer and family friend Lucas, later marries him but dies giving birth to their son. Molly grows up self-reliant and refuses to marry her wealthy publisher lover, even after becoming pregnant by him. She doesn't meet her own romantic destiny-poet Sam-until many years later, at a literary festival. Her daughter Ruth, a journalist, makes a conventional marriage to Peter but falls out of love with him as the years go by and eventually ends up with academic and writer Brian, back in the idyllic country cottage (now modernized) where her grandfather's mural of the dance of life still graces the bedroom wall. Moving at a cracking pace, Lively never strays too far from her themes of love and literature, words and pictures, lighting up the narrative with flashes of historical detail. Intelligent escapism: Although grounded by social history, this novel has its head in the fairy-tale clouds, where good things always await.
From the Publisher
"[Lively's] characters are beguiling, and her blend of romance and stinging social commentary is tonic." —-Booklist Starred Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143113430
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/27/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 384,971
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Penelope Lively

Penelope Lively is the author of numerous award-winning novels, including the Man Booker Prize–winning Moon Tiger.

British actress and narrator Josephine Bailey has won ten AudioFile Earphones Awards and a prestigious Audie Award, and Publishers Weekly named her Best Female Narrator in 2002.

Good To Know

In her interview with Barnes & Noble.com, Lively shared some fun facts about herself:

"I came late to writing -- I was in my late 30s before I wrote anything. The years before that had been busy with small children, and I seem to have fallen into writing almost by accident. Since then, I have never stopped -- books for children to begin with, then a period writing for both adults and children -- short stories also -- then for adults only when the children's books, sadly, left me."

"It has been a busy 30 years, but because writing is a solitary activity and I like the company of others, I have also always had other involvements -- with writers' organizations such as Britain's Society of Authors, with PEN, with the Royal Society of Literature, and, for six years, as a member of the Board of the British Library (the opposite number of the Library of Congress) which I regarded as a great privilege -- what could be more important than the national archive?"

"I have always been an avid user of libraries; like any writer, much of my inspiration comes from life as it is lived -- what you see and hear and experience, but my novels have sprung from some abiding interest -- the operation of memory, the effects of choice and contingency, the conflicting nature of evidence -- and these concerns are fueled by reading: serendipitous and eclectic reading."

"I am first and foremost a reader myself. I don't think I could write if I wasn't constantly reading. I both wind and unwind by reading -- stimulus and relaxation both. I used to love tramping the landscape, and gardening, but arthritis rules out both of those, so I do both vicariously through books. I live in the city now, but feel out of place -- I have always before lived most of the time in the country: I miss wide skies, weather, seasons."

"Never mind, there are compensations, and London is a very different place from the pinched and bomb-shattered place to which I came as a schoolgirl in 1945 -- now it is multicultural, polyglot, vibrant, unpredictable, in a state of constant change but with that bedrock of permanence that an old place always has. I like to escape from time to time -- mainly to West Somerset, where we have a family cottage and I can admire my daughter's garden -- she has the gardening gene in a big way and is far more skilled than I ever was -- bird-watch, walk a bit, talk to people I've known for decades, and see the night sky crackling with the stars that the city blots out."

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    1. Hometown:
      London, England
    1. Date of Birth:
      March 17, 1933
    2. Place of Birth:
      Cairo, Egypt
    1. Education:
      Honors Degree in Modern History, University of Oxford, England, 1955

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 9, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    loved it

    Ms. Lively is a GREAT writer. So much better written than the majority of what is on the best seller lists.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2007

    Back in Time

    This is a lovely old fashioned novel of love and loss. The setting in London and in the English countryside takes you to another place and time. The time that Lorna and Matt and baby Molly lived in the cottage in the country is so magical and so sad when it comes to an end. You care so much for them and for Molly and want her to find love and happiness in her life in London.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2007

    Selective

    I really wanted the book to completely immerse me into the time, but the author only chose to disclose details to further the story instead of painting each picture, as I had intended to read. I did believe it was eye-opening to over time read through different people's percepectives, but fell short when a personality of a character told the reader what she is more likely to do, (instead the author decided to again further her point along). I did appreciate learning about different trades, but struggled to complete the last few pages as there was no climax and predictability by that point was becoming old.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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