I married at thirty, and suspect that the single woman in me rejoices loudly at the triumphalism of single women in her books. As I said here, I can't think of another feminist writer who celebrates the single life in this way. Admittedly I haven't read enough feminist writing by far- I brought myself up on 1980s Cosmopolitan columnists. (As distinct from present day Cosmopolitans!)
Since last year I've read Excellent Women, Some Tame Gazelle and now Jane and Prudence. Not in precisely the right order, I know, but I think I will be carrying on through the list. What I loved most about the first two was the sparkle: the sharp, crystal decanter and stockings at dawn sparkle and crack of satirical observation. And the down to a crisp starched linen summer dress of a reflection of church politics!
But Jane and Prudence is different. It's sad. The overall tone is of the "ravenous hours" eating away at Jane's life. Square peg in a round hole- acknowledged by all to be rubbish at her job of vicar's wife. I decided that the regret stems from the fact that the protagonist's perspective is that of a married woman. The resident singleton (is Bridget Jones as good as it gets now for triumphant single women?) ultimately fails. The spunk here comes from the determined, oh so schemingly determined, Jesse Morrow who amazingly wins the delphinium blue eyes of Fabian Driver.
It is definitely the deepest of the three. The secondary characters are undoubtedly more rounded than in the previous two. I found that the village landscape reminded me of nothing more than Hardy's bleakly symbolic surroundings.
But I miss the sparkle! (Another late Alphabe-Thursday post!)