Book Snail Rating out of 5 :
Young Vanessa and Virginia Stephen. Priya Parmar’s fictional response to these two extraordinary characters utterly dazzled me. I am bit of a newcomer to the Bloomsbury scene, however I found this novel has begun to bring this unusual group to life. This story is anchored by letters sent to and from various members of the group and help ground this fictional account into something almost biographical.
In the time before Vanessa marries Clive Bell, her and her sister’s love is unflagging. Through Vanessa’s eyes we see that Virginia’s mind is troubled and often unhinged, and it is her possessive love over Virginia that keeps her in balance. However, once Vanessa marries and begins to have a life of her own, the pair become emotionally separated. Jealously and betrayal is often on the edge of the families loyalty to each other and I was fascinated by the back and forth of emotions between each of them. What happens within this novel perhaps show aspects of Virginia that readers of hers may be unaware of.
I particularly loved Parma’s style of writing. Her tone of voice is fitting to those of the Bloomsbury era and I was completely hooked by the very first page.
A fabulous read.