Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Amenable Women by Mavis Cheek

DATE PUBLISHED: 2008 DATE READ: May 2009 NOTES: A really delightful book. Recently widowed Flora is trying to pick up the pieces and forge a new life for herself. But she is not helped by everyone else’s memories of her larger than life husband. At his funeral her thoughts wander over their past life together as she realises that she probably won’t miss him all that much and that she is in fact looking forward to being her own boss. Much of the book (especially the early part) is very funny and it would be a hard-hearted reader indeed who failed to root for Flora. Edward, her late husband, had begun a history of their village. Flora had originally suggested that she do this but Edward quickly took over the idea and squeezed her out. So Flora was now free to work on this again and wanted to concentrate on the links that Anna of Cleves had with the village. She soon rejects the epithet of the Flanders Mare and gives us a refreshing reappraisal of Henry VIII’s fourth wife. There are a series of disappointments throughout the narrative. Flora has been disappointed by her husband and is now attracted to Ewan. But Ewan’s wife admits how disappointed she has been by him. And, of course, Anna of Cleves was very disappointed in the husband that awaited her when she arrived in England! It may not sound like the most feminist of messages but Mavis Cheek shows that amenability can lead to a woman getting what she wants! And what a lovely word “amenable” is – I will find ways to include it in future conversations!

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