Nancy Mitford

The Dower House

Book Jacket of Dower House I finished reading The Dower House by Annabel Davis-Goff, part of my TBR 2008 challenge.  Even though I’ve enjoyed all the books I’ve read as part of it, I’m starting to get a little irked by it-it feels a bit like I’ve turned reading into a to-do list.  (I’ve finished several more of the books, and I still need to review them). The Dower House is a beautifully descriptive book that focuses on Molly Hassard’s coming of age in the unique, privileged and fading world of the Anglo-Irish.  (In terms of this book, these are Protestant gentry of English heritage, but they live in Ireland, not Northern Ireland.)  It’s primarily set in the 1950’s and it’s Molly’s elegy for an unsustainable lifestyle.  It’s a world she loves, and is willing to devote her life to, even as it crumbles.  The Dower House is also a love story, and a record of eccentric, aristocratic family life, like the Mitfords. I actually found a good number of parallels between The Dower House and Nancy Mitford’s The Pursuit of Love.  Molly is a sympathetic protagonist, and that kept me interested in this novel.  Davis-Goff is also a talented descriptive writer who creates a lush and glamorous setting.  It’s not a very long novel, and I’d recommend picking it up over summer vacation.