The Camomile Lawn

The Camomile Lawn

by Mary Wesley


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August, 1939. Five cousins gather for the annual summer ritual of a holiday at their aunt's house in Cornwall; for most of them it is the last summer of their youth. The heady exhilarations of the freedoms brought on by loss of innocence, and fear, are round the corner. War will change everything.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780099499145
Publisher: Random House UK
Publication date: 07/04/2006
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.75(h) x 0.75(d)

About the Author

Mary Wesley was born in 1912. Her education took her to the London School of Economics, and during the war, she worked in the War Office. She published her first novel, Jumping the Queue at the age of seventy. It was followed by nine more. Mary Wesley died in 2002.

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The Camomile Lawn 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous 18 days ago
lycomayflower on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I expected this to be a story focusing on an extended family in England in the summer before World War II, but it's scope is grander than that, following the characters we are introduced to in that summer throughout the war and beyond. I mostly enjoyed the writing, though there were quite a few moments where I had to stop and reread a passage to sort what the author was saying. Not sure if this was a British/American language problem or a larger problem with the writing, but it was annoying. Generally a pleasant read, though I think I would have liked it better if it had narrowed focus, either to just a few characters or to a shorter span of time. I felt kept at a distance from the characters, despite also feeling that the characters had the kind of depth that would have allowed a closer look.
AdonisGuilfoyle on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have the 1992 miniseries on DVD, but hadn't thought to read Mary Wesley's novel until I found a copy in the library. In praise of the adaptation, there is little difference between the printed and screen versions, and I couldn't help but imagine Jennifer Ehle as Calypso, Felicity Kendal as Helena, and that guy with the bushy eyebrows as Max while reading.The novel itself is a quick read, mostly dialogue but with some insightful statements ('She felt they had briefly exchanged the truth and grown closer') and vivid descriptions of London during the Second World War ('She walked up to the Row, shabby and sad, robbed of its railings'). Calypso, Polly, Walter, Oliver and Sophy are young cousins who spend every summer at their uncle's clifftop house in Cornwall, until the fateful declaration of war in 1939. Then the story moves to London. Everybody seems to be sleeping with everyone else, irregardless of ties family or marriage, because 'we all lived intensely' and 'if we were in love it was acute'. I found some of the female characters - the superficial Calypso, and independent Polly - more sympathetic than others, and the male characters not at all, apart from maybe Hector. The whole cast is very middle class and difficult to relate to, but great fun to read about. Ironically, the only let down in the whole book is the 'modern day' narrative frame, with everyone meeting at the old house in Cornwall for a funeral, which I found rather contrived and boring compared to the free love and tangled relationships of the past.An enjoyable vignette of another time and place, and I will definitely read more of Mary Wesley's writing.
quixotic-creator on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another fascinating story, well-written, with all things notable about the human condition, by the gifted Wesley. Set in pre- World War II England, one is launched into a tale that delivers in true Wesley style - with a touch of irony, humour, sadness, triumph and a deeper look into the lives of ordinary people, who in their own way, are extraordinary. Wesley's talent is her ability to weave a story from the mundane, filling it with life in all its guises, leaving one more than satisfied with the content.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago