The Very Thought of You, by Rosie Allison

The Very Thought of You is set during the second world war in England. A young girl evacuated from London is sent with a group of others to a big country house where the unhappily married couple who own the house have decided to distract themselves from their unhappiness by opening a school for evacuees. The point of view shifts from young Anna to several of the adults in her new life, as well as her mother, left behind in London. Lonely Anna is deeply influenced by the adult relationships she only half-understands, and begins to hero-worship one of her teachers, the owner of the house, Thomas Ashton.

The book is a lovely period piece and gives us glimpse into several different kinds of lives during the war years. However, I found it a little unconvincing, especially in the later chapters which show the long-term impact of the war years on Anna’ life. I found it hard to believe that her obsession with Thomas Ashton went as deep and lasted as long as portrayed here — the conclusion didn’t seem to be borne out by what had gone before. This was an interesting book, but not, for me, a compelling one.

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3 Comments

Filed under Fiction -- historical

3 responses to “The Very Thought of You, by Rosie Allison

  1. Just dropping by to let you know that your blog has been nominated in the NL Blogger’s Choice awards! If you want to check out the vote thread, go here.

    Good luck!

  2. Elisabeth

    I am reading this novel at the moment. I have almost finished it. The subject matter is sustaining me throughout, as I am finding the prose overly sentimental. Also, the narration keeps sliding into third person and switching to different characters. Third person limited does not work when the viewpoint is killed off with no witnesses (the solider early on and then the two women in the car, and Roberta). I would say that the reason the novel has done so well is that the content is valued much more highly than the form.

  3. That could be, although I think I disagree with you about the use of third-person limited in that way. To me, third-person limited is essentially another way of writing first-person — it’s nearly as intimate, and you’re very much inside that one character’s head, so I had no problem with seeing a character’s death from that point of view, anymore than I would with a first-person narration of a character’s own death.

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