Book Reviews

All Change (Cazalet Chronicles) by Elizabeth Jane Howard

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List Price: £8.99

 

Paperback: 592 Pages.

Published: 27 March 2014 by Pan

Edition: Main Market

ISBN: 9780330508988

EAN: 9780330508988

It is the 1950s and as the Duchy, the Cazalets’ beloved matriarch, dies, she takes with her the last remnants of a disappearing world – of houses with servants, of class and tradition – in which the Cazalets have thrived.

Louise, now divorced, becomes entangled in a painful affair; while Polly and Clary must balance marriage and motherhood with their own ideas and ambitions.

Hugh and Edward, now in their sixties, are feeling ill-equipped for this modern world; while Villy, long abandoned by her husband, must at last learn to live independently. But it is Rachel, who has always lived for others, who will face her greatest challenges yet . . .

Events converge at Christmas; as a new generation of Cazalets descend on Home Place. Only one thing is certain: nothing will ever be the same again.

Reviews

5.0 Stars5.0 Stars5.0 Stars5.0 Stars5.0 Stars  by Debra Found

A Great Conclusion

This is the final book in the Cazalet series. If you haven't read any of the previous books then start with "The Light Years" and work your way through. This book will not make any sense unless you have read the whole series. If you need a refresher then there is a brief summary in the front of the book.

This was an excellent conclusion to a wonderful series. We have now arrived in the 1950s and those children we have watched grow up throughout the books - Polly, Clary, Teddy etc - are mostly married with children of their own. A new generation of children is heading to Home Place for their Christmasses. Times have changed and the older generation of Hugh, Rachel, Edward and Rupert are struggling to live in the new world where tradition and loyalty in business are not as important as they were. There is now a daily help doing some basic housework and the days of a full quota of servants have long gone. This generation are coping in various ways with the changes - Rupert better than the others with Hugh and Rachel left floundering in a world that they are struggling to understand. I am sure this is an excellent parallel with the older generation today who are trying to adapt, with varying degrees of success, to the world of ipads, ipods and internet for everything!

We have followed the characters throughout these books and it is wonderful to see how they have developed. Neville, who was quite a self-centred and difficult child has progressed into a difficult and self-centred adult. Polly has become a very efficient housewife and mother whereas Clary has remained rather more complicated. We are able to see how the earlier difficulties in life during the war and the loss of parents have changed these people. There are some characters  missing in this book and I would have loved to hear the ending of the stories of Christopher, Nora, Angela and Judy. Were they happy with the lots they had chosen in life?

Elizabeth Jane Howard has created a whole dynasty of Cazalets which I have got very involved with throughout the series. She is a master storyteller of the characters everyday lives making them very three dimensional and true to life. I was quite happy with how the book completed the series - it wasn't all "and they lived happily every after" but a fitting end to the story. I shall miss the characters and am sad that there isn't another book to follow the story further. An excellent conclusion to an excellent series.

 
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