Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Wedding Group by Elizabeth Taylor


On a recent rainy day, I read British author Elizabeth Taylor's The Wedding Group (1968). Elizabeth Taylor is an author whose work I've come to appreciate, and I want to read everything that she's written. 

In The Wedding Group, Cressy is the granddaughter of the noted painter Henry Bretton. He has created his own world called Quayne, a compound of sorts made up of cottages and a courtyard. Henry spends his days painting, and his daughters and granddaughters bake bread, clean and scrub, weave, and grow vegetables. Cressy wants to get away from this stifling life and find out what the world is like.

Mrs. Brindle, a cleaning woman who helps out at Quayne, uses her influence to get Cressy a job at the antique shop in the village and also arranges for Cressy to live in a small attic room over the shop. Cressy then meets David Little, a journalist, who lives comfortably with his mother, the lonely Midge. David finds the unassuming and naive Cressy intriguing, and soon, they marry. 

Midge lives an isolated life where her world revolves around David. Once he marries Cressy, we get a chance to see how truly manipulative Midge can be. David thinks he's getting away from his mother, but she's more a part of his life than he'd like to admit. And while Cressy thinks she's gained her independence from Quayne, she encounters another kind of life where Midge wields her influence. The balance of power moves back and forth in the slightest of ways, and it's fun reading to see how the story will end. I loved the ending of the book.

The novel is an interesting study of human nature. Also, it's not without some comedy in the form of Henry Bretton's paintings and his ideas of how God should be portrayed in modern art. The writing is everything I've come to expect from Elizabeth Taylor--deft and subtle. There is as much importance in what isn't being said as what is.

I highly recommend The Wedding Group. I read the Virago Modern Classics edition of this book which I got at a local used book sale.

2 comments:

  1. I just know I'm going to enjoy Elizabeth Taylor! A Game of Hide and Seek is waiting on my shelf... it's just a matter of time.

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    1. I know what you mean about time and books. I've also picked up a book of Elizabeth Taylor's short stories and am curious to see if I'll enjoy those as much as her novels.

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