Last night I finished The Swiss Summer by Stella Gibbons (author of Cold Comfort Farm). It goes in the category “I read it so you don’t have to.” It’s very, very slow, and none of the characters is admirable, amusing, or interesting. Lots of descriptions of the Swiss countryside and mountains. Written around 1950, when food was still rationed in England, and no one could take more than 50 pounds (money, not weight) out of the country when they traveled. So there are period details that might interest some readers. I kept waiting for something to happen, and very little ever did; that little was predictable.
However, one paragraph, about books found in a Swiss chalet owned by a very old English lady, at least gave me some ideas for future reading: “Anna Lombard, by Victoria Cross, was here, in a shilling edition with a pictorial cover showing Anna, wearing tight corsets under a gown of white satin, swooning in the arms of her lover; here were Elinor Glyn’s Three Weeks, and The Reflections of Ambrosine and The Visits of Elizabeth, where passion and snobbery are locked in embarrassing embrace. From a slightly earlier period there were Grant Allen’s The Woman Who Did, and some half-dozen of the light, bitter novels written by Rhoda Broughton during the last twenty years of her life. There was also a copy of Sarah Grand’s unevenly brilliant story, The Heavenly Twins, in which feminism and romance are married but never fused.”
I’ll let you know if I track down any of these, and if they’re worth reading. Somewhere I have a copy of Elinor Glyn’s granddaughter’s novel, Love and Joy in the Mabillon, about young people at art school in Paris, which I remember as delightful. We’re still hauling boxes back from the storage unit, so maybe it will turn up soon.