heaven_ali (heaven_ali) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

#109 Frost In May - Antonia White (1933)

Nanda Gray, the daughter of a Catholic convert, is nine when she is sent to the Convent of Five Wounds. Quick-witted, resilient and eager to please, she accepts this closed world where, with all the enthusiasm of the outsider, her desires and passions become only those the school permits. Her only deviation from total obedience is the passionate friendships she makes. Convent life is perfectly captured - the smell of beeswax and incense; the petty cruelties of the nuns; the eccentricities of Nanda's school friends.

Frost in May is the story of Nanda Grey a young catholic convert during her four years at the Five Wounds convent school. Nanda is just nine when she comes to the school, and stays until her sudden departure when she is thirteen. Nanda quickly becomes part of the life of The Five Wounds, and its often harsh strictures. She forms friendships (which are frowned upon) with girls of a higher social standing, enjoying their company as is typical of young girls at school together. Although she once or twice gets into trouble she is generally a hard working, often pious young girl, with an active imagination but a mind of her own. Yet one of the things the convent see itself as being responsible for, is the breaking of wills, so that they can be re made for God. This is a rather disturbing idea. Young Nanda's immersion in her Catholicism and the eventual breaking down of her spirit is poignantly described. The end is shocking in it's way.

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