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Mariana (Persephone Classics) by Monica…

Mariana (Persephone Classics) (original 1940; edition 2009)

by Monica Dickens, Harriet Lane (Preface)

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4552022,893 (3.99)74
Title:Mariana (Persephone Classics)
Authors:Monica Dickens
Other authors:Harriet Lane (Preface)
Info:Persephone Books (2009), Paperback, 377 pages
Collections:Your library, Persephone Classics, To read
Tags:Fiction, British, 20th Century, Persephone Classic

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Mariana by Monica Dickens (1940)



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Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
Mary Shannon has gone away to brood while her husband is at war in WW II. During a storm she hears on the radio that her husband's ship has gone down; frantically, she tries to telephone to get news, but her line is down. During the long night, she remembers her life from about age 8, and it is part coming of age and part becoming her own person. This is the second novel by Monica Dickens, the great- granddaughter of Charles Dickens, and she said that it was semi-autobiographical.

Part of this book gripped me more than others. I did root for Mary, even if she was often self-centered; I think that is a natural part of most children's development, and if she didn't get out of it as early as many of us think she should have, just look around at how many self-centred teens and early twenties people there are today.

As far as women authors went, Monica Dickens was only outsold at that time by Daphne du Maurier, however, her work hasn't remained as popular over time. I haven't read du Maurier for years, so can't give a good comparison as to why, but I do think it's a shame she's so little known now. I didn't love this book, although I suspect that when I was younger I'd have liked it more. ( )
  Karin7 | Feb 14, 2016 |
3.5 ( )
  Joana_v_v | Feb 9, 2016 |
I came across Monica Dickens first as the author of Follyfoot (pony stories) and One Pair of Hands and One Pair of Feet - very funny 'true' stories of life as a maid and a nurse in smart society between the wars. This is adult fiction, though still a 'girls growing up' story. Mary, the 'lead' character, is a slightly out of kilter character, and the book takes her from adulthood back to childhood, passing the journey that leads her to romance, love and - potentially - loss. It's an enjoyable period story, perceptive and sly.
  otterley | Feb 7, 2016 |
Note: pub. date Feb. 2009
  mfdavis | May 20, 2015 |
Mariana is the second book from Persephone, which publishes "mainly neglected fiction and non-fiction by women, for women and about women." Published in 1940, it is essentially a coming of age story about an ordinary English woman, and on the basis of that description might easily be dismissed. But what makes Mariana such a charming read is its structure. The book opens with our heroine, Mary, ensconced in a holiday cottage with her dog, Bingo, and a raging storm outdoors. She hears some upsetting news on the radio, but the weather prevents her venturing out to obtain more information. Instead, the reader is treated to the story of Mary's life, from idyllic childhood summers in the country, through her school days and young adulthood in London.

Mary grows up surrounded by interesting and influential characters. Her widowed, independent mother fosters a sense of independence in her daughter, even as Mary with school and vocational training. Mary's uncle Geoffrey, an actor, lives with Mary and her mother. His carefree approach to life strikes Mary as much more desirable than her mother's constant worry about having enough money for life's basic necessities. Mary’s first love is her cousin Denys, and it takes years for her to understand their close relationship can be nothing more than platonic. But she is resilient and every relationship with a man teaches her more about what she needs from life and love.

By the time we arrive at those moments in the cottage, we are fully invested in Mary's story and learning the details behind the news report. Monica Dickens reveals those details and wraps up Mary’s story in a most clever fashion. All in all, a very satisfying read. ( )
2 vote lauralkeet | Nov 23, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Monica Dickensprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lane, HarrietIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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To Henry & Fanny
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Mary sometimes heard people say: "I can't bear to be alone."
Monica Dickens wrote Mariana when she was only twenty-four. (Preface)
She worried a little, but not for long, because the day was too glorious, and she could never worry as intensely in the open air as she did indoors.
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This novel from 1940 is the touching, humorous story of a young English girl's growth towards maturity in the 1930s. We see her at school, on holiday in Somerset, her attempt at drama school, her year in Paris learning dressmaking and getting engaged to the wrong man, and finally the arrival of Mr Right.… (more)

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