I finished Bilgewater last night over supper, and really enjoyed it; it's been sitting half read for about a week now. I can't believe I missed out on Jane Gardam when I was at school, and am determined to rectify this. She has a mixture of books both in print and not, and I've already got 4 of them waiting on my bookcase. I think I'll probably try A long way from Verona next.
I started reading The play room by Olivia Manning at lunchtime. She seems to be most famous for her two trilogies - the Balkan trilogy and the Levant trilogy, but neither of them have ever hugely appealed to me. Anyway, the other week I read the Doves of Venus, about a girl who comes to London to seek her fortune and ends up embroiled in a hapless love affair (theme of rather a lot of books wouldn't you say?), which I enjoyed, so I thought I'd look at a few of her other novels. This is a coming of age story about a girl called Laura. It's only a short book so I should finish it later but I'm enjoying it thus far - I like the way Manning writes as much as being interested in the plot and wonder how much is drawn from Manning's own life - coming of age stories often are I think, and I believe the Balkan/Levant trilogies are.