Revisiting books one enjoyed as a teenager can sometimes be problematical. Tastes change, what one regarded as wonderful writing or exciting adventures no longer seem so. A shame when that happens but am delighted to say that my recent reading in the last few weeks has not let me down and I enjoyed re-reading a series of books I last read when I was about eighteen or nineteen. The books in question are by Anne Melvile and the first in a series of six about the Lorimer family. I remember vividly the cover of the first book, The Lorimer Line, when I took it down from the shelves at Highgate Library where I worked at the time. It was
in the sixties so the woman were illustrated in full make up, false eyelashes the lot and looking very dewy eyed and submissive.
The women in this series of books, however, are anything but. We have doctors, suffragettes, opera singers et al and the female of the species takes centre stage most of the time. This opening book introduces us to the Lorimer family who have founded a shipping line in Bristol and are wealthy and successful and the leaders of local society. Margaret, the daughter of the family, is intelligent with a strong personality. She wishes to train as a doctor but it is forbidden as it is expected she will remain at home until she marries. Her elder brother will inherit the business, her younger sets off to Oxford and she is left kicking her heels at home. And then she meets the new young accountant employed by her father and falls in love. Again, unlikely that their mutual attraction will be encouraged but to Margaret's amazement her father raises no serious objection and actively encourages their engagement. And then there are rumours of financial troubles and it is clear that the Lorimer bank and all its wealth are in danger of foundering.........
This book is the first in the series and follows the trials and tribulations of the family up to the 21st century, reflecting the changes and attiudes in society, particularly towards the female members of the Lorrimers. All six books are available from Bloomsbury who have made these available once more on their e-book list. This list is well worth checking out as there are some gems there and looking through it is an exercise in nostalgia for me personally as I remember so many of the books. The Lorrimer books are a stonking read and I spent most of my first week in Sydney when I was suffering from jet lag and then a tummy bug glued to my Kindle.
I am eternally grateful to Stephanie and Sophie at Bloomsbury who so generously loaded up my reader for me with not only these wonderful books, but others also which I will try and read and review in due course.