Friday, January 11

Book Review: The Beginning of Spring

Title: The Beginning of Spring

Author: Penelope Fitzgerald

Pages: 246

Summary: It is March 1913, and dear, slovenly Mother Moscow, her windows still sealed against the cold of winter, is stirring herself to meet the beginning of spring. Change is in the air - uncertainty too - and nowhere more than at 22 Lipka Street, the home of the English printer Frank Reid. Frank returns from work one night to find that his wife has gone away; no one knows where or why, or whether she'll ever come back. All Frank knows for sure is that he is now alone and must find someone to care for his three young children. Into Frank's life comes Lisa Ivanovna, a quiet, calming beauty from the country, untroubled to the point of seeming simple. But is she? And why has Frank's bookkeeper, Selwyn Crane, gone to such lengths to bring these two together? Who is the passionate Volodya, who breaks into the press at night - a thief, an agitator, a would-be murderer? Frank sees, but only dimly, for he is a rational man in Moscow, a city where human experience - of love and friendship, of politics and power - is always at its most unfathomable.

My Rating: 7.25/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I love the way the author writes. Even if when the content of the story wasn't that interesting, I still found myself becoming lost in the writing and how the narrators voice came off the pages. I also enjoyed some of the imagery throughout the book along with the ending. Although, I think the metaphor at the ending, was a bit lost on me, I did enjoy the ending, surprised but I enjoyed it.

Overall, the book was average story, but lovely writing style. I found it was easy to be bored with the plot and I also found that the flow of the plot was a bit disjointed, pieces here and there just didn't seem to fit into the story as a whole. Which made for a bit of a choppy read at times. The plot had some interesting tidbits in it. Especially considering the social and political issues going on during the time it was set, but I found it was lost at times of where and how everything pieced together. At times there did seem to be something missing just to connect everything together more.

Not a bad read, but lovely writing style that pulls you in until the end.

Would I recommend it to read: The story itself was average with not a lot happening, (I'm sure you could analyse it to find the social and political movements and points throughout the book if you wanted), but the writing was what makes it worth reading. So I'd say it may be worth checking out.

What to read next: The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald

Challenges: 100 Books Challenge, 2013 Category Challenge, Alphabet Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge, Read-a-Latte Challenge,


  1. Not sure if this one is for me or not, but your mention of exquisite writing does have me curious. I need to see if this one is available on audio, because that is my chosen preference right now. This was a really thoughtful and revealing review today. I am glad that I stopped by!

    1. Glad you stopped by too. I think you'd like the author, but not sure about this book. But she is worth checking out.