The Family at the Yellow House by Betty E Spence Warne 1956. Now Wheels to the West gave the impression of being written on the hoof as it were, but TFATYH gives the feel of more work being put into it, and not being a better book as a result. How come Mrs Parker can't afford new kitchen curtains, but can send both Jen and Lissa to Boarding School, then take off with husband to spend the winter in the West Indies?
There's just too many threads. Everybody turns out to have a full back story. There's been a Dr Thurlowe in the village since Tudor times. Doesn't say much for the present Dr Thurlowe's ambition, does it? Evelyn Lavish`s father isn`t a Bank Manager, but a Bank Messenger. Evelyn moans about his lack of ambition, but obviously does all right as she has a perm and goes to live in Ealing 'such a fashionable suburb'. Georgie is obviously eventually going to marry old tramp, Joseph Williamson, found for dead in the Haunted House. Lissa will obviously marry Robert. Vincent will come back from the dead, and Catherine, missing from her pram 23 years ago, will obviously be discovered and marry Dr T.
Sub sub Gwendoline Courtney in detail of girls growing up. Social detail is fascinating, but is it worth keeping the book just for this?
Then Jen of the Yellow House 1959 - although still think 1953-1956 era. Everybody marries everybody else as I predicted, except -shock, horror - Georgie doesn't marry former tramp, Joseph Williamson. She refuses him! Brilliant! He didn't waste any time, but turned to Maria Hastings who snapped him up. I wouldn't take on an old tramp, reformed or no, but this was the 1950s and women of whatever age could only be truly fulfilled by marriage.
Loads of sub-plots and lots of period detail - well, it wasn't detail then, was it, it was normal life. Lissa dreams of being a Matron, but is mainly concerned with designing her nurses' new uniforms - white nylon button-through dresses with fitted waists and black stockings `more flattering to the legs than light-coloured ones'! Do I really want to keep these semi-heart-warming family sagas? But what are `carlins' eaten by actress, Sally, with meat pie and boiled potatoes?