Margaret Kennedy Reading Week: A Look Back – and a Winner

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The first thing I must say thank you, to so many of you who banged the drum for Margaret Kennedy Reading Week, who were ready to take a chance on a new author, and who took the time and trouble to write about the books that they read.

It really has been lovely to watch.

All that remains is to look back at what we’ve read.

And to give away a prize ….

The Ladies of Lyndon (1923)

Kirsty said: “Whilst ‘The Ladies of Lyndon’ is nicely written on the whole, it does feel rather dated ….”

Jo said: “The book captures I think a snapshot of a period in history and if you were researching this era, then this would be a book which would give you quite an insight.”

Audrey said: “When I read the wonderful opening sentence, I knew I was going to love this book. My second thought was that this could be Jane Austen, writing 100 years later.  But looking back, while there are some Jane-ish echoes here, there’s much more snark and bite.”

Cat said:  “I would call The Ladies of Lyndon a domestic and social comedy. The plot is minimal and it’s the interrelationships, the actions and dialogue between the characters that brings the pre and post-war eras to life. “

 The Constant Nymph (1924)

Ali said: “I absolutely loved it, at once fully involving myself with the characters, as I became immersed in the world of ‘Sanger’s Circus’. I think Margaret Kennedy might be an author whose work I will have to read much more of.”

Helen said:  “I loved the setting, the characterisation and the elegant, engaging writing style and am looking forward to reading more of Margaret Kennedy’s books. “

 The Fool of the Family (1930)

GenusRosa said: “The intense bursts of lucid, fresh prose often kept me thinking about what I had just read. As a musician, there were many elements of the novel that resonated with my own perspective.”

Together and Apart (1936)

Kirsty said: “Kennedy discusses familial relationships and their breakdown throughout the novel ….. Together and Apart, even all these years later, is still an important novel, just as relevant to our society today as it was upon its publication.”

The Feast (1950)

Kaggsy said: “Reading “The Feast” was a hugely enjoyable and rewarding experience and I’m so glad I chose it. In fact, I think it will benefit from a re-read as I was so anxious to reach the conclusion that I’m sure there are many profound little bits I’ve missed.”

Cirtnecce said: “More than anything else, Ms. Kennedy understood both the most noble and the very base instinct of the human heart and her characters brought them forth with force and unerring honesty!”

Troy Chimneys (1953)

Elaine said: “Troy Chimneys is an odd and appealing Regency historical novel with a quiet, studious hero who creates a dashing alter-ego as his public persona ….. I really enjoyed this short novel. I have not read anything quite like it.”

 The Wild Swan  (or The Heroes of Clone) (1957)

I said: “Margaret Kennedy is wonderfully clear-sighted and unsentimental, and not at all judgemental. She just presents that characters and tells the story, and yet I knew that she knew. And I agreed.”

Lisa said: “I chose this one because I remembered it had something to do with a film production in a small town. As I discovered, that’s true, but it’s rather like saying ‘War and Peace’ has something to do with a battle “

Cirtnecce said: “The plot is wonderful, you are plunged write into the truth of Dorothea Harding’s life right at the start, but in a distinctive narrative style, it takes a while for the readers to actually put the whole jigsaw puzzle together.”

 A Night in Cold Harbour (1960)

I said: “There were moments when I saw the influence of Thomas Hardy, there was prose that might have been Jane Austen telling a story unlike any of her own; but what makes the story sing is a depth of feeling that belongs entirely to Margaret Kennedy.”

The Forgotten Smile (1961)

Simon, in Shiny New Books, says: “ Kennedy has created an evocative, moving, and – somehow – transfixing location, and peopled it with fascinating characters.”

I think that’s everyone, but if it isn’t let me know and I’ll put things right.

And so to the winner. The random number generator tells me that:

AUDREY has won a copy of – well, I’m not going to say, because she asked to be surprised, if she should win.

I’ll just say, Audrey, please send me a mailing address via the email in the side bar so that I can send you a lovely Margaret Kennedy novel.

I’ve loved Margaret Kennedy Reading Week, and so  I just have to say thank you again, so much.

35 responses

  1. Thank you for hosting and introducing me to this author. It is good to be challenged and I feel that I have by reading out of my normal choice. I will certainly read a MK again. I enjoy this reading weeks when they appear on some of my favourite blogs!

  2. Adding my thanks for hosting this wonderful week! It’s been such fun to see the different posts, reminding me that I still have so many lovely books to discover.

    • You were instrumental in getting MKRW started Lisa, because I would have feared being on my own had I not known how much you loved her writing. I’m looking forward to the books ahead of me, but I have to take my time because I hate that I’ll run out of new books one day.

      • I’m honored, thank you!

        I also think that I don’t want to rush through her books. My sense is that each should be savored on its own terms.

  3. Oh, my, I’ve never won a book giveaway before! Thank you!! and as I said very sincerely in my post, thank you for bringing us together and for introducing or re-introducing us to a wonderful author.

  4. I don’t think I had even heard of Margaret Kennedy until you started posting about her books, so thank you for introducing me to a new author and for hosting this week!

    • She had fallen out of print, but luckily I had an old Virago edition of The Constant Nymph, and when I was interested to read more I found that my library had other books tucked away. I’m glad to have introduced to you, and I hope you’ll enjoy her other books.

  5. Let me just add my voice to the many thanks for hosting this event. It introduced me to an author that I am so glad I found. My Margaret Kennedy ‘week’ is going to be extending into the winter! I think my next read will be Troy Chimneys (which I keep calling Troy Towers for some reason; hopefully after I read it I will get the name straight), and now am off to read the review. Thank you again!

  6. Due to mini vacation with spotty wifi connection, I haven’t been able to post my review of The Ladies of Lyndon yet, but I really enjoyed reading it. Thanks for introducing me to Margaret Kennedy!

  7. Thank you so much for hosting this wonderful project! You’ve really made me want to read some more of Kennedy’s work, and it’s lovely to see that so many bloggers got involved with it.

  8. I’ve enjoyed the reviews I’ve stumbled across as part of the week and will be taking the chance to look at a few more. I’d never previously heard of Margaret Kennedy, but she sounds very interesting – so thanks for highlighting her, and for pulling all the links together.

  9. Pingback: The Ladies of Lyndon – Margaret Kennedy (1923) | heavenali

  10. Pingback: The Ladies of Lyndon by Margaret Kennedy | My Book Strings

  11. Thank you so much for hosting this event and by doing so, introducing me to a fascinating new-to-me author. I am still reading The Forgotten Smile as I have had an extremely busy last two weeks, but am enjoying it so very much.
    I already have ordered more of Margaret Kennedy’s books and am looking forward to a quieter November to read by the fire – oh, wait, we don’t have a fire in Dallas in November…that doesn’t come until January! Well, I’ll be reading on the porch with a tall glass of lemonade….

    • I’m so pleased to have made an introduction, and that Margaret Kennedy has won heart and minds. I need a copy of The Forgotten Smile I think, to bring a little warmth to a damp, grey Cornish Autumn.

  12. Pingback: The Story of the Where-Virago-Led-Me Bookcase | Beyond Eden Rock

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