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The Bookshop, The Gate of Angels, The Blue…
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The Bookshop, The Gate of Angels, The Blue Flower

by Penelope Fitzgerald

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All three stories manage to create settings and characters that envelope you and are sorry at having them end. Well-written and well thought out novels. ( )
  charlie68 | Mar 9, 2014 |
Review of The Bookshop:

Determined and unflappable Florence Green longs to bring books to the people of 1950s Hardborough. After some haggling with the town loan officer, she finally purchases an old, haunted house – called Old House - where she intends to live and set up the shop. Upon moving into the new space, she learns that Mrs. Gamart, the town socialite, has other plans for her and the building. Drama ensues.

Filled with well-developed and entertaining characters, this is a delightful read, with lots of clever bits and subtle humor. I particularly enjoyed (and was quite touched by) the character of Christine, Florence’s intensely serious and hard-working 11-year-old assistant. Lovely and recommended. ( )
  DorsVenabili | Jun 5, 2012 |
“Cambridge University in 1912 is on the threshold of world-changing discoveries in physics and more.A young man, rational Fred Fairly, the only son of a clergyman, is a junior fellow at the university’s smallest college, St. Angelicus, closed to women for 500 years. Fred’s experiences with family, colleagues, and the mysterious, beautiful Daisy Saunders, who literally crashes into his life—bring him into a wider world and to some drastic modifications of his diehard beliefs and ambitions.

In this luminous and sublime novel, Fitzgerald creates a story from apparently irreconcilable strands, from the metaphysical to the religious, with ample mystery, romance, and history thrown in. Atoms and ghosts, angels and villains, certainty and chance, love and jealousy, reason and imagination, all figure prominently in the world within this novel. And a collision between any two of them can change the course of a life, or of life itself. The Gate of Angels is both intelligent and entertaining giving the reader a delightful ride through the world of Britain on the eve of the Great War.” ( )
  jwhenderson | Aug 17, 2011 |
[The Bookshop] Well, it reminded me a little of Thomas Hardy (Mayor of Casterbridge). The characters are a little under-developed. The plot seems to be the actual point. The action of the story - not how the characters change, but a general outline; told in almost a boring voice. The book also had the [ Blue Flower ] , which made me crazy. I like the idea behind both plotlines - it shows how life moves on and cannot slow down. Maybe characters remain underdeveloped so you can see how unimportant they are in the grand scheme of things. Maybe it's a way to show us our place within it all. ( )
  hemingwayok | Jan 25, 2008 |
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To an old friend
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In 1959 Florence Green occasionally passed a night when she was not absolutely sure whether she had slept or not.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Publisher's description: The Bookshop is a postwar tragicomedy of manners, set in an isolated seaside town where an enterprising woman opens a bookstore only to find it beset by poltergeists, weather, and hostile townsfolk. The Gate of Angels is an Edwardian romance within a novel of ideas: a young doctor devoted to science and to his all-male Cambridge college finds his life and views disrupted by a nurse named Daisy. The Blue Flower, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award, revitalizes historical drama through the story of Novalis, an eighteenth-century German romantic poet and visionary genius, and his unlikely love affair with a simple child-woman. These three novels all display Fitzgeraldb2ss characteristic wit, intellectual breadth, and narrative brilliance, applied to an array of traditional forms into which she breathed new life.… (more)

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