Thursday, 30 April 2015

Patience - John Coates

Patience (and her sister Helen) were brought up as Catholics.  Both were married to men found by their mother for them before she died.  Helen has divorced hers and found a man she really loves.... so is now happily married to the second husband.  Patience is just a quiet, truly submissive wife with three small children (all girls but she can try again, can't she?) and no ideas at all about what real love is all about.  Until, one night over drinks at her sister's she meets Philip.  Philip, who will make love to her rather than have sex with her.  Philip, who will make her hear violins whilst making love.  Philip who loves her unconditionally.

Patience now has a dilemma.  How can she be with Philip for the rest of her life when she is married to Edward and is an honerable Catholic wife?  How she works this out makes this a lovely, lovely read.  I found myself willing her on and wondering why she just did not declare her love for another man to her awful husband and get rid of him.  But, like life, it's much more complicated than that!

Maureen Lipman wrote the forward to this book.  She loved it, and I did too.  It was published in 1953, and has been resurrected by Persephone for which I must say a huge thank you.  Coates' style shows it's age but that is part of the charm of this book, particularly when describing sex without actually going into the graphic detail one might expect from the 50 Shades school of fiction.  It's not as light and frothy as it sounds either.  Some moral standards come into play here, and the last paragraph is a shocker but provides, for me, exactly the right ending.