The Child’s Child is a book within a book, or at least a contemporary story wrapped around a tale of an unmarried mother in Devon which starts off between the wars. Grace is working on her thesis about illegitimacy in the English novel and is asked to read the story of Maud and her pregnancy and the things she has to do to maintain face at a time when this sort of thing was a major problem (disowned by her parents, that sort of thing). The events of Maud’s story start to echo what’s happening in Grace’s life as she shares a house with her brother Andrew and begins to deal with his partner James who moves in with them setting off a chain of events that will change them all.
Why did I want to read this?
I really like the Barbara Vine novels; I’m pretty sure I have read all of them over time, and I certainly have come to prefer them to Ruth Rendell’s (for it is she, of course) more straightforward police procedurals. So it’s always a bit of an event when a new Vine is published.
What did I think of it?
I enjoyed reading this novel but the lingering feeling I have, almost six weeks later (I am SO behind on my posts) is one of vague disappointment. I came to find Maud really, really annoying, and although I know that the way she behaves is a product of what has happened to her and the way she has had to adapt to her circumstances but I came to find her deeply unlikable. I know very well that you don’t have to like a character to find their story compelling but I came to care about the futures of almost everyone except her. At the same time I wanted to know more about Grace and the modern-day setting which I found much more interesting and which seemed to me to be a bit rushed. And for me the connections between the two narratives were a bit tenuous.
This was my final book for Readathon !!