Author: Amanda Sington-Williams
£: 14.99 (Hardback) or 9.99 (Paperback)
What is it all about?
Set in the 1950s, The Eloquence of Desire explores the conflicts in family relationships caused by an affair. George and his family are shipped off to Malaya as a punishment for his affair with the boss’s daughter. George’s wife Dorothy barely leaves the house, constantly suffering from the climate, anxiety over their situation and the dangers of living in Malaya. Their daughter joins them only to cause more problems and worry, as well as uncover George’s habit for straying. Finally they return to England and try to adjust to new lives, but can the scars of all their problems heal in the end?
The book itself is well written with the characters each having well rounded and distinct personalities, which makes it easy to picture them in their miserable situation. There are nice touches with Dorothy’s constant touching of her beads when she is anguished and the depiction of Malaya at the time. However, I found the characters really hard to like or empathise with which made it hard to get truly immersed in the book. I also found the second affair George embarks on less eloquent and more despicable as he assaults the woman in question. Her willingness to carry on with him and her lack of anger I found frustrating. Would she really have been so desperate to have an affair that she would return to the man who forced himself upon her? The Mess of Deceit may make a better title than The Eloquence of Desire. Once back in England the story seemed skip through time quite a bit, so that Dorothy’s new life is only really touched on. I would liked to have read more about how she picked herself up and made a new life for herself.
All in all the book sums up a troubled and repressed era with an equally troubled and repressed family very well. I just wish there had been more I could like about the characters portrayed.