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Sunday 13 November 2022
STOLEN SUMMERS by Anne Goodwin @annecdotist #RBRT #TuesdayBookBlog
For anyone who hasn't read Matilda Windsor is Coming Home, do read this novella-length prequel first. It centres around how, in the 1930s (and before, and a while after), unmarried girls who became pregnant were often sent to mental asylums - once inside, they would become institutionalised, some to spend their whole lives locked away. Poor Matilda - the first scene, when she thinks she's going home from the nunnery where she had her baby, but is in fact being driven to Ghyllside Hospital, is heartbreaking. It made me want to reach out a hand and shout, 'don't go in! Run!'
The book alternates between the outbreak of World War II, and the early 1960s, when she and her friend organise little escapades. Alas, Matilda, already emotionally and mentally unstable because of her years at Ghyllside, cannot take on board how much the world has changed. Finally, there is a chapter set in 1989 which, if I remember rightly, is how the main book starts. By this time her mind is gone, though she is not unhappy in her fantasy world.
The book is so well-written, and I thoroughly enjoyed it all the way through, even though it made me want to weep for Matilda and the other women like her. Highly recommended.