The Flight of the Maidens
By Jane Gardam
(Carroll & Graf, Hardcover, 9780786708796, 288pp.)
Publication Date: May 2001
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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Deliciously, with keen perception and touching humanity, this new novel from one of England's most gifted writers follows three young Yorkshire women, all of them scholarship girls, through the weeks preceding their departures for university in Cambridge and London. If they face the future with innocence and uncertainty, their parents and guardians belong in spirit to an England now past, even as they gaze upon a world that has been utterly altered by six long years of war. It is the summer of 1946. In this time of clothing coupons and social readjustment, Hetty Fallowes struggles intellectually to become independent of her possessive and tactless but loving mother, while her best friend, Una Vane, asserts her nascent womanhood with a sexually interesting fellow from the wrong side of the Yorkshire tracks. And Liselotte Klein, a Jewish refugee who arrived fat, solitary, and clever from Hamburg in 1939, comes through painful trials in London and California to surprising possibilties. By summer's end, all three have begun to learn they know neither everything nor nothing.