A traditional ‘who did what and what became of them’ story, How it All Began is an easy read that doesn’t really challenge the intellect. I found it only mildly amusing – a candidate for ‘pick up when bored’ book status. Definitely not on the compulsive can’t put it down list, I think it could be referred to as a pot boiler on a rating of 5 on the 1-10 scale. I have to say she is good at character studies, but I didn’t like any of the characters and found little pleasure in her artful descriptions.
Written much in the same style as Mary Wesley but not as memorable or engaging. My memory of Mary’s Jumping the Queue and subsequent books that continued the theme of an illicit love affair, still makes me smile, eighteen years later, and I know if I re-read it I would love it. So, would I be interested in reading more of Lively’s books, I’m afraid not, I’m seldom bored.
The Penelope Lively website
gives details of her background and all her books.
How It All Began is published by Penguin
Val Reynolds, Editor