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A Touch of Mistletoe by Barbara Comyns
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A Touch of Mistletoe (1967)

by Barbara Comyns

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75None249,774 (4.41)36
This is the story of two girls who live in a huge house owned by their late grandfather. When their mother relinquishes drink for the joys of frantic housework, Vicky and Blanche, somewhat understandably, long to escape.

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Barbara Comynsprimary authorall editionscalculated
Craig, PatriciaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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We sat in the June dusk discussing our brother Edward, and Blanche, my younger sister, took the plait of hair she was chewing from her mouth to say, 'Did you notice he broke the glasses the undertakers had drunk from - sherry glasses?'
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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'Then I knew he had the same fearful loneliness that I had and told him he could stay "only if you keep your socks on. I'll be safe if you keep your socks on"... I can't think why I had such faith in them'
This is the story of Blanche and Vicky who as children read Ethel M. Dell and Elinor Glyn up a tree. Following the death of their grandfather - in whose enormous Warwickshire house they live - their mother relinquishes drink (to which she had taken in a big way) for the joys of frantic housework. Naturally the girls long to escape. Blanche trains as a mannequin at a dubious institution in London, and Vicky flees to Holland and a purgatorial life as an au pair to a lot of dogs. But this is only the beginning and other adventures await them, including the poverty and cabbage smells of one-room living, the charcoaled fingers of art school, drunkenness and cheap restaurants of Soho bohemia, and varying degrees of excitement with several husbands and lovers. First published in 1967, A Touch of Mistletoe shows Barbara Comyns' original voice at its best, mixing a characteristic simplicity with a quiet but cunning wit.
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