Valerie Grove

Mayfair Lady

Marriages are Made in Bond Street: True Stories from a 1940s Marriage Bureau

By

Macmillan 357pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

On Sunday mornings at my grandmother’s house in the 1950s I would read the two women’s magazines she took. A ten-year-old could learn a thing or two from Evelyn Home’s problem page in Woman, but Barbara Cartland’s romantic stories and Godfrey Winn’s sentimental pieces taught me something much more important: how not to write in a style dripping with flowery artifice and goo. So opening this book in 2016 to find it entirely couched in that preposterously dated style was quite a shock. Still, Penrose Halson relates a story worth telling: of how Heather Jenner founded her matchmaking agency in 1939.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Start your week with a dose of Russian Revolutionary zeal. Donald Rayfield reviews Tobie Mathew's 'Greetings From t… ,
    • A treat from the LR Archive: exactly 20 years ago, Malcolm Bradbury reviewed John Updike's 'Bech at Bay' ,
    • ‘When bullets come close, the noise they make as they go past changes from a zing to a crack’ John Lanchester's dy… ,
    • Man with a Bloody Paintbrush: Robin Simon on Lucian Freud ,
    • Jane Ridley reviews The Diaries of Kenneth Rose (ed. D R Thorpe) ,
    • ‘Look,’ says Trump. ‘The fact is I’m only human.’ On the evidence of this book that point is debatable. From the A… ,
    • From our December/January issue - here's John Banville's review of Colm Tóibín on the fathers of Wilde, Yeats and J… ,