The Cazalet Chronicles
One of my most-requested posts lately is more book reviews. I’ve shared a few favorites here, but I wanted to start posting what I’m currently reading (or rereading)! While each month I get to read a new book for my book club (last month was Daughters of Yalta, absolutely the best book I read this year, and this month is Shy, the memoirs of Mary Rodgers, which is fantastic so far), I’m often reading or rereading something else. Right now I’m rereading Elizabeth Jane Howard’s The Cazalet Chronicles series.
I’ve always enjoyed reading in-depth family sagas (like Rosamunde Pilcher’s The Shell Seekers and Coming Home, for instance), and the Cazalet series meets and exceeds my very high standards. The first book in the Cazalet series is The Light Years, beginning the saga of the Cazalet family just before the outbreak of World War Two. There are five books in the series: The Light Years, Marking Time, Confusion, Casting Off, and All Change. All Change was published many years after the original quartet, and covers the 1950s, after England has rebuilt after World War II and the world has significantly changed.
Elizabeth Jane Howard is an immensely talented writer who is able to represent a number of differing viewpoints with aplomb, sharing the internal thoughts of so many characters seamlessly. With her writing, I feel truly able to suspend disbelief and fully immerse myself in the world of the characters. The series covers so many topics–family issues, love, life, the war, rationing, the struggle to define yourself, parental opposition… and so on.
If you are looking for a captivating read perfect for crisp fall evenings and cold winter nights, I could not recommend The Cazalet Chronicles more.