So my book for this month is Angel by Elizabeth Taylor (not the film star), one of the books I had for Christmas. One of my neighbours, who has a similar taste in books, recommended Elizabeth Taylor and Elizabeth Jane Howard, a friend of Taylor's, also spoke highly her books in her autobiography. Angel tells the tale of Angela Deverell, a writer of popular, somewhat racy but badly written novels and explores the relationship between real life and fiction, truth and delusion. Elizabeth Taylor writes with skill to make you engage with a character who is prickly and not always the most likable and she avoids censure or judgement, simply telling her story. It is almost as though she found herself wondering who writes these novels, which might be equated to modern *Mills and Boon* novels, who are they and what motivates them? I did wonder if Taylor had the writer Ethel M. Dell in mind when creating Angel Deverell, perhaps reading the introduction (I never read it before reading a novel in case of "spoilers") will cast some light on it?
I tend to do a lot of my reading in the bath in the evenings and it is a mark of the quality of this book that my baths grew longer and longer as I got more gripped by the story. Elizabeth Taylor's books fit into the Persephone Books, Elizabeth Bowen, Barbara Pym, Elizabeth Jane Howard sort of genre of novels of small happenings in seemingly ordinary lives which are nonetheless capable of tremendous interest and of being utterly compelling. Naturally each of these authors have their own flavour but they all operate in the same sort of sphere.
If you wish to read what others have been reading this month you can see the list back on Laura's blog here, meanwhile I need to consider what to read next month.