Occasionally, I even get time to read…

Apparently, the author of this short novel, Susan Hill, has recently begun a relationship with another woman, having been married. The subject matter of From The Heart, then, might in some way be pressing for her as a result of her own circumstances. It tells the story of Olive, a young girl in the 1950s (I think), who experiences a kind of awakening in a repressive, intolerant era. Many things happen in a few years for Olive, but she is well drawn and likeable, and the ending is particularly good! Oddly, though, for a novel about awakening sexuality, there is very little actual sex, as though the repression of the era has somehow exerted itself upon Hill’s writing. In fact, she is rather coy about sex altogether, and this surprised me, as the rest of her writing is so acutely observant and true to life. The book itself is rather lovely – a neat, small hardback with a cover rather like the gorgeous Persephone Press novels, based on a 1950s fabric print by designer Ruth Adler Schnee. If you enjoyed Patricia Highsmith’s Carol, then this is broadly similar, though quieter, I feel. 

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