All Passion Spent by Vita Sackville West was the latest Book Club read. Pat A sent us this report. It was very much enjoyed by members of Book Club, and achieved a nine out of ten score.
The novel opens in the aftermath of the death of Lord Slane, a universally admired and respected former Prime Minster and Viceroy of India.
His six grown up children descend upon the London home to dispense advice and organise the funeral, feeling that their mother must be protected at all times. Lady Slane married in the 1800s when still a teenager, never had a life other than as a wife to Lord Slane. Over the years her opinion was not considered and therefore the children made plans for where she would live and with whom for specific periods during the year. Her children are not particularly pleasant people.
Lady Slane, however, had different plans – in fact rents a lovely little house she had seen years ago in Hampstead (not a desirable area in those days) from a Mr. Bucktrout (who became a very good friend) and was aided in transforming the property with the help and assistance of a Mr. Gosheron. Lady Slane and her maid Genoux (who was very French and protective of her Lady) settle into a happy life at the property. The story unfolds with tales of the enriching friends she encounters – one in particular (a friend of one of her sons). This friend, whose company she really enjoys, dies suddenly and Lady Slane finds she is the main beneficiary of his will inheriting all his art collection and money. This she dispenses with to museums and the needy, much to the disgust of her family.