The return of the soldier by Rebecca West

soldier“The soldier returns from the front to the three women who love him. His wife, Kitty, with her cold, moonlight beauty, and his devoted cousin Jenny wait in their exquisite home on the crest of the Harrow-weald. Margaret Allington, his first and long-forgotten love, is nearby in the dreary suburb of Wealdstone. But the soldier is shell-shocked and can only remember the Margaret he loved fifteen years before, when he was a young man and she an inn-keeper’s daughter. His cousin he remembers only as a childhood playmate; his wife he remembers not at all. The women have a choice – to leave him where he wishes to be, or to ‘cure’ him.”

I was tempted to pick this up because of a write-up about it over at We love this book, and the fact that it’s pretty thin swung it for me. I do like a thin book – especially if I think it might be a bit hard-going: at least it’ll be quick!

I’m very glad I did, because this is was a very affecting and poetic read. I was interested to read what it had to say about class and the impacts WWI had on social structures of the time – as well as the personal impacts on individuals. The author’s experience of a 10 year love affair with H.G. Wells can only have underpinned the strongly emotional descriptions of the loneliness and passion of the women in the story.


Reserve a copy here.


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