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After the Party by Cressida Connolly

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Author: Alo├┐se of Daylesford Book Club, Posted: Tuesday, 18th December 2018, 09:00

It is 1938 and Phyllis Forrester has returned to England with her family after living abroad for many years.

She is reunited with her two sisters, one of whom is involved with a summer camp on the Sussex coast. Phyllis allows her children to attend without realising the consequences, and makes friends, but seems unaware of their flawed characters.

The book moves on to an embittered lonely Phyllis being interviewed in 1979 about the events of 1938. It looks at the impact of the British Union of Fascists on a privileged section of English society and gives a detailed portrayal of those women who were imprisoned, many of whom became radicalised having been interned.

Cressida Connolly was able to use information researched from diaries of the time. Both Oswald Mosley (known as OM) and Diana Mitford make passing appearances.

The book is both a story of tensions within a family and tensions in a wider historical sense. The author builds up an impressive picture of life in 1938 – a period which many choose to forget.

It makes for an interesting, if uncomfortable read, with Phyllis starting out as ‘the nicest woman in England’ until she becomes sucked into this sinister world.

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