Skip to main content

Review: The Dark Tide, by Vera Brittain


Pages: 259
Original date of publication: 1923
My edition: 2002 (Virago Modern Classics)
Why I decided to read: it’s a VMC
How I acquired my copy: Awesomebooks, March 2011


The Dark Tide is an autobiographical novel set during Vera Brittain’s years at Oxford after WWI. The story opens when Daphne Lethbridge returns to finish her education at Oxford after working as a driver in the War. She takes up modern history and does her coaching with Virginia Dennison, a frustrating know-it-all who Daphne takes an immediate disliking to (partly, I think, because of jealousy). Although there are similarities between Vera and Winifred Holtby’s friendship and that of Daphne Lethbridge and Virginia Dennison, there are many differences (neither Vera or Winifred had a Raymond Sylvester in their lives, thankfully), and I think Vera infused a bit of her personality into both Daphne and Virginia.

However, both women are very, very different; Daphne is shy and awkward (but belongs to one of the top cliques in Drayton College), Virginia is a know-it-all and showoff. Neither of them is really likeable, but somehow they end up being friends. For it is the rejection of Raymond Sylvester’s marriage proposal to Virginia that leads to Daphne’s disastrous marriage to him. It’s similar to the butterfly effect—where one action leads to another, which leads to another, and so on. As a result, Virginia ends up feeling guilty for what happens to Daphne. I enjoyed seeing how these two disparate people would end up being sympathetic towards each other.

There are a couple of clichéd characters (Raymond Lester, the selfish, philandering husband comes to mind) and I thought it was hard to believe how Daphne, who’d lived through the War, could at the same time be so naive. But in all, I liked this novel—although I think Brittain‘s Testament of Youth is, of course, a far better book.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Review: Invitation to the Waltz, by Rosamond Lehmann

Pages: 304Original date of publication: 1931My edition: Why I decided to read: I found this while looking on ebay for Virago Modern ClassicsHow I acquired my copy: bought secondhand on ebayInvitation to the Waltz is one of those coming-of-age-stories. Unlike, for example, The Crowded Street, which focuses on a young woman’s entire coming-of-age experience, Invitation to the Waltz focuses on just one moment in seventeen-year-old Olivia Curtis’s life: a coming-out ball, the seminal moment in the life of any girl of the period (approximately the 1920s). Olivia is neither the most beautiful nor the most vivacious girl at the party, and she’s apprehensive about the evening and all it entails. This is not one of those “high action” books, but it gives a lot of insight into the thoughts and feelings of a girl making the leap into adulthood. I think if I had read this book ten years ago, I would have completely identified with Olivia—she’s shy and retiring, and unsure of herself. Her dress is…

The Sunday Salon

What a crazy week this has been! My cousin, who’s ten, was in town for most of this past week, and since he’s high energy, it’s taken a lot of energy especially out of my mom, who also had to deal with my 87-year-old grandmother. Plus. my sister was in town for the weekend, so it’s been mostly crazy around here. All of my posts this past week have been scheduled; and I only got around to writing a bunch of outstanding reviews yesterday afternoon. It’s quieter here now that my mom has driven my sister back to New York, and I’ve spent much of today catching up on sleep and, of course, reading. Right now I’m reading one of my Virago Modern Classics: The Rising Tide, by Molly Keane (though it was originally published under her pseudonym MJ Farrell). I’m really loving it; the author really knew how to combine wonderful (sometimes exasperating) characters with a great plot. I’ve been cruising Ebay for more books by Molly Keane, since I’m living her writing style. This is easily one of the b…

Read in 2014

January:
1. Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon
2. The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome, by Tony Attwood
3. Mozart and the Whale, by Mary and Jerry Newport
4. Handling the Truth, by Beth Kephart
5. Girl, Interrupted, by Susanna Kaysen
6. The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
7. Them, by Joyce Carol Oates
8. Wide Sargasso Sea, by Jean Rhys

February:
1. Random Family, by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc
2. I Was Told There'd Be Cake, by Sloane Crosley
3. The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath
4. Twilight Sleep, by Edith Wharton
5. Twirling Naked in the Streets, by Jeannie Davide-Rivera
6. Hungry Hill, by Daphne Du Maurier
7. Me, Myself, and Why, by Jennifer Ouilette
8. Lady Chatterley's Lover, by DH Lawrence
9. The Wise Virgins, by Leonard Woolf

March:
1. Out With It, by Katherine Preston
2. Never Have I Ever, by Katie Heaney
3. Look me in the Eye, by John Elder Robison
4. Beyond, the Glass, by Antonia White
5. Atypical, by Jesse Saperstein
6. The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, by Maggie O'Far…