Related to: 'Coming of age classics'

Virago

Invitation To The Waltz

Rosamond Lehmann
Authors:
Rosamond Lehmann

On her seventeenth birthday, Olivia Curtis receives: a diary for her innermost thoughts, a china ornament, a ten-shilling note and a roll of flame-coloured silk for her first ball dress. She anticipates the dance, the greatest and most terrifying event of her life so far, with uncertainty and excitement. For her pretty sister Kate, it is sure to be a triumph, but what will it be for shy, awkward Olivia? Rosamond Lehmann, one of the best-loved writers of the twentieth century, perfectly captures the emotions of a girl poised on the threshold of womanhood.

Virago

The River

Rumer Godden
Authors:
Rumer Godden
Virago

Slammerkin

Emma Donoghue
Authors:
Emma Donoghue

'Strangers might remember a trip to see a girl hang, but who would spare a thought for the whos and hows and whys?' At thirteen, Mary, the daughter of a poor seamstress, longs for fine clothes as her neighbours hunger for food and warmth. For the love of a gorgeous red ribbon she finds herself seduced into a life on the cold, dangerous streets of late 1700s London. Her saviour is Doll, a gaudy young woman who takes her under her wing. But Mary soon discovers that she can't escape her past and that people like her pay must pay dearly for yearnings not fitting to their class . . .

Virago

Tipping The Velvet

Sarah Waters
Authors:
Sarah Waters

'Piercing the shadows of the naked stage was a single shaft of rosy limelight, and in the centre of this was a girl: the most marvellous girl - I knew it at once! - that I had ever seen.' A saucy, sensuous and multi-layered historical romance set in the 'roaring' 1890s, Tipping the Velvet follows the glittering career of Nan King on her journey from Whitstable oyster-girl to music-hall star to cross-dressing rentboy to East End 'tom'.

Virago

My Brilliant Career

Miles Franklin
Authors:
Miles Franklin

Trapped on her parents' farm in the hardscrabble Australian outback, sixteen-year-old Sybylla Melvyn loves the bush but not the toil it brings. She longs for refinement, and most of all she longs to achieve great things. Suddenly she falls under the gaze of wealthy, handsome Harry Beecham . . . and finds herself choosing between the conventional path of marriage and her plans for a 'brilliant career'.

Virago

The Weather In The Streets

Rosamond Lehmann
Authors:
Rosamond Lehmann
Virago

Life Mask

Emma Donoghue
Authors:
Emma Donoghue

A love story. A gamble. A battle. Let the games begin. It's an era of looming war, and the erosion of freedom in the name of national security. A time of high art and big business, trashy spectacles and financial disasters. Celebrities are hounded by journalists, who serve up private passions alongside public crises. Marriages stretch or break, and so do friendships; political liaisons prove as dangerous as erotic ones. In Parliament, on stage, in the bedroom, at the race track, round the dinner table, old loyalties are wrenched by the winds of change. The World - as elite calls itself - is fighting to survive these chaotic times.

Virago

Breakfast with the Nikolides

Rumer Godden
Authors:
Rumer Godden

For Emily Pool, India is a magical place where she has the freedom to escape her mother's suffocating influence. Her days are spent exploring the canals and gardens of East Bengal, and admiringly observing her glamorous, dignified neighbours, the Nikolides. But just as the cracks in Emily's family home are papered over, so do the Pools strive to maintain an outward impression of respectability, and it is through the Nikolides that Emily is exposed to a world of adult deceit and attrition. And when her beloved dog dies, the event forces a confrontation and reveals to Emily that nothing in the town is quite as it seems . . .

Virago

The Lady and the Unicorn

Rumer Godden
Authors:
Rumer Godden
Virago

Touchy Subjects

Emma Donoghue
Authors:
Emma Donoghue

How do you make conversation with a sperm donor? How do you say someone's novel is drivel? Would you give a screaming baby brandy? In what words would you tell your girlfriend to pluck a hair on her chin? Touchy Subjects is about things that make people wince: taboos, controversies, secrets and lies. Some of the events that characters crash into are grand, tragic ones: miscarriage, overdose, missing persons, a mother who deserts her children. Other topics, like religion and money, are not inherently taboo, but they can cause acute discomfort because people disagree so vehemently. Many of these stories are about the spectrum of constrained, convoluted feeling that runs from awkwardness through embarrassment to shame.

Virago

Selected Letters Of Edith Sitwell

Richard Greene, Edith Sitwell
Authors:
Richard Greene, Edith Sitwell
Virago

Penelope

Rebecca Harrington
Authors:
Rebecca Harrington
Virago

Mossy Trotter

Elizabeth Taylor, Tony Ross
Contributors:
Elizabeth Taylor, Tony Ross
Virago

Complete Short Stories

Elizabeth Taylor
Authors:
Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor, highly acclaimed author of classic novels such as Angel, A Game of Hide and Seek and Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont, is also renowned for her powerful, acutely observed stories. Here for the first time, the stories - including some only recently rediscovered - are collected in one volume. From the awkward passions of lonely holiday-makers to the anticipation of three school friends preparing for their first dance, from the minor jealousies and triumphs of marriage to tales of outsiders struggling to adapt to the genteel English countryside, with a delicate, witty touch Elizabeth Taylor illuminates the nuances of ordinary lives.

Virago

The Dud Avocado

Elaine Dundy
Authors:
Elaine Dundy
The start of a magnificent new trilogy

An Extract from The Summer Queen

Overflowing with scandal, sex, triumph and tragedy. Read the first chapter of The Summer Queen, the gripping new novel from New York Times Bestseller, Elizabeth Chadwick.

Virago

The Echoing Grove

Rosamond Lehmann
Authors:
Rosamond Lehmann

Two sisters: Madeleine and Dinah. One husband: Rickie Masters. For many years now, Dinah, exotic and sensual, has conducted a clandestine affair with Rickie. Madeleine, calm and resolute, has accepted that her marriage has been of limited success. Rickie's sudden death makes widows of both sisters in this highly imaginative novel that explores with extraordinary insight the sublimity, the rivalry and the pain of personal relationships. 'She makes a mood, an atmosphere, which is never forgotten . . . The inner voice of women talking to themselves about their love affairs, knowing that it is hopeless, having to go ahead anyway, expecting the end as soon as it begins. That, of course, is what Rosamond Lehmann does best' Sunday Times

Virago

Dusty Answer

Rosamond Lehmann
Authors:
Rosamond Lehmann
Virago

A Sea-Grape Tree

Rosamond Lehmann
Authors:
Rosamond Lehmann

In 1933 we meet Rebecca, heroine of THE BALLAD AND THE SOURCE - but in a different world, on many levels. Betrayed by her married lover, Rebecca arrives alone at a small Caribbean island. Here, along with the splendidly eccentric members of the British expatriate colony, she meets the former ace pilot Johnny, crippled now, a misanthropic recluse: for both of them their passionate affair the powerful life force love can be. Here too she encounters voices from the past and the vibrant spirit of Mrs. Jardine - voices which remind Rebecca of the girl she was and the woman she could become.

Virago

The Swan In The Evening

Rosamond Lehmann
Authors:
Rosamond Lehmann

Rosamond Lehmann, one of the most distinguished British writers of this century, published eight acclaimed works of fiction. Her only autobiographical work, The Swan in the Evening, recreated first the child she was and the experiences that made her the woman she became, moving on to tell the story of her beloved daughter Sally and the tragedy of her early death at the age of twenty-four. Then, tentatively and persuasively, Rosamond Lehmann relates the totally unexpected, overwhelming and scrupulously recorded psychic and mystical experiences she underwent following that terrible loss. The meaning of such events, their messages of hope and comfort to others she then, through a letter to her grandaughter, passes to us.