Lady Grace Kilmichael is a well-known painter, she is also a 40 something wife and mother. However she is now running away. Often feeling harried by her daughter and unappreciated by her husband, whose friendship with another woman is some cause for concern, Grace seeks an escape. The Europe, through which Grace travels, is a different place – geographically from the Europe of today – but Ann Bridge’s descriptions of the landscape are breath-taking. En route to Split and Dubrovnik, Grace travels through Paris, Venice and Torcello – where she meets a young man half her age, an aspiring painter in need of help and guidance. However when Grace arrives on the spectacular Dalmatian coast she finds the peace and tranquillity she requires to start and answer the questions at the heart of her flight.
Nicholas and Grace strike up a friendship that allows Grace to help him with his painting, but Grace is soon made aware that Nicholas’s feeling for her may have become a little more complicated, and in turn must face up to her own changing emotions.
I have no experience of the area of Europe that the book talks about – having never really been anywhere outside the UK. However Ann Bridge’s amazing sense of place allowed me to encounter the landscape of 1930’s Europe, with its colourful peasant peoples herding goats through ancient ruins, works of art, small unspoilt communities untouched by the modern world.
This was a thoroughly enjoyable read –and I envy those who still have it to look forward to. I can now understand fully why so many people enthuse over this book. It certainly deserves to be read and read, and I am so glad Daunt books re issued it for us.