The Love Child by Edith Olivier - first published 1927 - British Museum Library Women Writers Edition 2021 with a preface by Alison Bailey and an afterword by Simon Thomas
“Part of a curated collection of forgotten works by early to mid-century women writers, the British Library Women Writers series highlights the best middlebrow fiction from the 1910s to the 1960s, offering escapism, popular appeal and plenty of period detail to amuse, surprise and inform.” From The British Library
There are currently 15 works in the British Library Women Writers Series. I am hoping to read through them in 2022. Most are fairly brief and all include author bios and expert commentaries. The Kindle Editions are under $4.00.
British Women Library Women Series Works I have so far read
Strange Journey by Maud Cairnes -1935
The Love Child by Edith Olivier - 1927
Agatha is an unmarried woman in her early thirties. Her father died long ago and her mother has now passed. She has been left financially secure with several servants and a decent home. She has no close relatives, no friends, never a romantic interest. As Olivier makes painfully clear, Agatha is totally lonely. Her father left a good library but she does not read. She seems to have no passion for anything. Her fondest memory is of an imaginary playmate, Clarisa, she shared her childhood years with.
At first I felt sorry for Agatha but not overly fascinated by her circumstances. Then something very strange happens. I at first think Agatha is hallucinating, letting her imagation fill the void in her life. From this point on I was throughly entralled by The Love Child as a marvelously developed stranger by the page sequences of events develop. Clarisa appears first in a fashion only Agatha can see then she becomes visible to all as an 11 year old girl. The mystery is who is she, where did she come from?
I do not want to spoil other readers expereiences by revealing much at all of what happens as Clarisa gets older. It is both hilarious and heartbreaking.
The Family servants play an important part giving us a view of country households. A chapter with a Policeman explains the name of the novel when we see Agatha display real spirit.
Born: December 31, 1872, Wilton UK
Died: May 10, 1948, Wilton, UK
In May I hope to read Tea is So Intoxicating by Mary Essex