The Garnett Girls by Georgina Moore - review by Peter Bottomley

Peter Bottomley

They All Loved to Dance

The Garnett Girls


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Georgina Moore’s first novel records the lives of three freckled sisters growing up on the Isle of Wight in the shadow and the light of tempestuous love. One lover accuses the family of being as self-absorbed and as melodramatic as the Romanovs.

At sixteen, their mother, Margo, became the muse for Richard, a drunken poet. Although they were mad for each other, he felt he was not good enough and moved off (and off the booze) with a second family, leaving his daughters and their broken mother with Sandcove, a large house on the beach, where they hold annual parties for dancing and drinking.

Rachel, Imogen and Sasha have marriages and relationships that develop unpredictably, influenced by misunderstanding, hurt and alienations. Bonds are formed and challenged in Venice, on the east Isle of Wight coast and in London’s theatreland and Goldhawk Road over the next forty-five years. Their father’s advice was: ‘don’t strive for impossible things. Realise what you want and go after it, but don’t always believe the grass is greener.’ The novel’s tone is loving and disturbing. Male readers may be helped to understand women, if not themselves; the mother and the sisters do understand themselves and come to know the absent father. This saga could easily become a series; if so, anticipate more worrying enjoyment.

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