Monday, October 31, 2016

Marking Time - Elizabeth Jane Howard

This is the second of the five books in The Cazalet Chronicles.  I read the first one a little while ago.  I enjoyed that one so much that I started right in on volume two.  I feel more comfortable with the Cazalets now.  I was overwhelmed by meeting the three Cazalet sons and their wives and children and Villy's sister Jessica and her family.  I had trouble keeping everyone straight:  who was married to whom, which children belonged to which families.  There's a family tree at the beginning of each book and I made a copy to have at hand while I was reading.  I'm starting to know them better.

In Marking Time, several of the characters get their own chapters.  Clary has her own chapter, as do Louise and Polly.  Thinking back, the book is mostly about these girls growing up under difficult conditions, both personal and historical.  It's hard enough growing up under normal conditions.  Growing up with bombs falling around and shortages of all kinds must have been horrid.

Clary's father goes off to war and disappears.  She refuses to believe that he's dead, although the rest of the family believes that he must be.  She and Zoe, her stepmother, become closer.  Zoe has a baby and between that and her husband being MIA, she matures and becomes more compassionate.

Polly is faced with her mother, Sybil's illness.  She's outraged that her father and mother don't talk about it to her or to each other.

Louise is pursuing her acting career.  She meets an older artist who falls in love with her.

The book is full of the sorts of things that happen in all families.  People get older, people get sick, people fall in and out of love.  I'm still enjoying the series and plan to get on to the next one  -  as soon as I finish several library books that I have or have on hold.  You could do much worse than to befriend the Cazalets.

Katrina has just read this, too, so you might want to check her blog to see what she has to say about it.  I think she'll be posting her thoughts soon.


  1. This does sound like an interesting series, Joan. I like to read about the World War II period and this series might actually get more into the details of life at that time. All the characters would be challenging though.

    1. I think this is a great series to get a feel for the lives of people during WWI, Tracy. It's an absorbing story of everyday lives, of how the war affected people.