I had hoped to post a review of Mariana by Monica Dickens but it seems like my reading has been very slow going this week so no review. I’m only about 50 pages into the book but it’s really been a fun read.
I admit at first I was a bit confused because I expected the novel to take off when Mariana is a young woman, say in her early 20s, but we actually get to hear about some of her childhood memories first. She reminisces about the days with her cousins, playing and causing their nannies endless amount of grief. And, there’s one scene that was just so vivid in the way it was written that I could just picture these kids being up to no good. Here’s a snippet:
“Had Mavis Richie been able to see the sight that met Mary’s eyes as she clicked up the latch of the door, she would have fainted dead away. Her daughter Sarah was being hanged… At the moment she was standing with her feet straddled over the open trap-door that was used for sweeping away sand into the hollow space under the floor of the hut, and round her neck was a looped rope, the other end of which was slung over a beam in the roof. Hanging on to the end of the rope, a sack over his head with a hole cut in the front, out of which his little robin’s eyes sparkled with excitement, was Michael Shannon, the eight-year-old son of Mary’s Uncle Lionel. His elder sister Margaret, who, with her sticking-out teeth and tin spectacles and damp, clumsy hands, was always relegated to the duller roles of any game, was earnestly holding up a volume of the Children’s Encyclopedia, out of which Denys, with his shirt hanging out over his trousers, was reading the burial service.”
A bit of chaos, tears and blood follows but tell me, can’t you just see these kids sneaking around behind their parents’ backs and playing their make-believe games? I loved this part. It reminded me of my own adventures growing up.
I am looking forward to reading more of Mariana this weekend and also catching up on other Persephone Reading Week participants’ blog posts. Thank you to Verity and Claire for having the links roundup. The only downside to this is of course now I want to order some new Persephones for my shelves.