Viking Publishing 229pages 1/2/2012 Hardcover
HOW IT ALL BEGAN by Penelope Lively, begins when Charlotte is mugged by a teenage thug, on the side streets of London. Being mugged is horrific enough, let alone ending up with a broken hip when you’re in your late 70’s.
Charlotte has lived independently since her husband died, fifteen years ago. Now she finds herself having to depend on her daughter Rose and her son in law, Gerry. Taking care of a parent is just something you do under these kinds of circumstances. And Rose takes it in stride, never missing a beat. She tucks her mother into a spare room in her home and begins rearranging her life.
So many people become affected because of Charlotte’s situation. It becomes like a snowball, gaining momentum. Rose is in danger of losing the carefully constructed life she’s been living all her life, and all because she becomes involved with Anton, one of my favorite characters in this novel. Anton is being tutored in English by Charlotte who taught English all her life. Will Rose leave her boring husband?
Lord Henry is Rose’s employer. When Rose isn’t able to go on assignment with him, his niece, Marion, goes along. Marion sends a text message to her lover Jeremy. and his wife receives it instead. And Marion makes an extremely costly business decision because of her trip.
I love the setting of the book. We spent a week tramping the quaint streets of London several years ago. I fell in love with the city and the people. We were lucky enough to hitch a ride on the London Eye. It gave us a giddy panoramic view of the city and beyond.
Penelope Lively has just been made a dame. She is well known and loved in her country and throughout the literary world. She has penned yet another winner with this novel that deals with aging, family woes, and how a chance encounter of any kind can throw so many lives out of kilter.
I read my copy through the lending benefit from work. Looking forward to Lively’s next novel.