Related to: 'Coming of age classics'

Virago

Invitation To The Waltz

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

Tipping The Velvet

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

Slammerkin

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

My Brilliant Career

Miles Franklin
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The River

Rumer Godden

'You can't stop days or rivers . . . 'Harriet is between two worlds. Her older sister is no longer a playmate, her brother is still a child. And the comforting rhythm of her Indian childhood - the noise from the jute works, the colourful festivals that accompany each season and the eternal ebb and flow of the river on its journey to the Bay of Benghal - is about to be shattered by a tragic event. The River is Rumer Godden's beautiful tribute to India and to childhood.

Virago

The Weather In The Streets

Rosamond Lehmann
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Life Mask

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

Life Mask

Virago

Breakfast with the Nikolides

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 . . .

Emma Donoghue

Born in Dublin in 1969, Emma Donoghue is an award-winning writer, living in Canada with her family. Her novels are Room, The Sealed Letter, Landing, Life Mask, Slammerkin, Hood and Stir-fry; short-story collections Astray, Three and a Half Deaths (UK ebook), Touchy Subjects, The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits, and Kissing the Witch; and literary history including Inseparable, We Are Michael Field, and Passions Between Women as well as two anthologies that span the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries. Frog Music, her new novel, comes out in Spring 2014.

Virago

Touchy Subjects

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

Edith Sitwell (1887-1964) was, through four decades, the most prominent and celebrated woman poet in Britain. Among the notable admirers of her work were Siegfried Sassoon, WB Yeats and Gertrude Stein, Stephen Spender and Marianne Moore. Just after her death, Allen Tate described her in The New York Times as 'one of the great poets of the twentieth century'. Even as one allows for the ebb and flow of literary reputations, Edith Sitwell will have permanent claim on the attention of readers and literary scholars. She and her two brothers, Osbert and Sacheverell, were the focus of a movement in English Literature described as an 'alternative Bloomsbury'. This volume includes unpublished letters to many significant figures, including WB Yeats, Bertrand Russell and Benjamin Britten. It also contains letters that illuminate Sitwell's relations with other women writers, among them, Gertrude Stein and Rosamond Lehmann.'I am besotted with this dotty old bat. Britain's most celebrated and eccentric female poet, she dashed off reams of witty, newsy, mischievous letters in exquisitely beautiful prose. Every letter is a gem' - Val Hennessy (one of her top ten books for 1997), Daily Mail

Virago

Penelope

Rebecca Harrington

Meet Penelope O'Shaughnessy, Harvard freshman.Armed with her Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights poster and party conversation modelled on the repartee of Noel Coward, Penelope is ready to take her place on campus. But where are the kindred spirits who will share her passion for Morse code and Tetris? Penelope's roommates, over-achieving Emma and the sullen Lan, seem to have already got to grips with university life, and she is finding it hard to work out if the dashing but elusive Gustav matches up to her hero, Hercule Poirot.Penelope follows our heroine's progress through her first year among America's elite, as she navigates the mysteries of life, love, inappropriate tutors, marionette operation and how to kiss on both cheeks and avoid disaster.

Virago

Complete Short Stories

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.

Orbit

Love Minus Eighty

Will McIntosh

A NOVEL OF LOVE AND DEATH, IN NO PARTICULAR ORDERThe words were gentle strokes, drawing her awake."Hello. Hello there."She felt the light on her eyelids, and knew that if she opened her eyes they would sting, and she would have to shade them with her palm and let the light bleed through a crack."Feel like talking?" A man's soft voice.And then her mind cleared enough to wonder: who was this man at her bedside?She tried to sigh, but no breath came. Her eyes flew open in alarm.The Minus Eighty . . . Where millionaires browse the catalogue of icy women, judging on beauty ratings and revival costs. Where a freezer's gentle hum plays the background symphony for the world's most expensive first dates. Where death is only the beginning.Love Minus Eighty is a disquieting vision of our romantic future, as hopeful as it is horrifying, by a Hugo Award-winning author.

Virago

The Dud Avocado

Elaine Dundy

THE DUD AVOCADO gained instant cult status on first publication and remains a timeless portrait of a woman hellbent on living. It is, as the GUARDIAN observes, 'one of the best novels about growing up fast'.Sally Jay Gorce is a woman with a mission. It's the 1950s, she's young, and she's in Paris. Having dyed her hair pink, she wears evening dresses in the daytime and vows to go native in a way not even the natives can manage. Embarking on an educational programme that includes an affair with a married man (which fizzles out when she realises he's single and wants to marry her); nights in cabarets and jazz clubs in the company of assorted "citizens of the world"; an entanglement with a charming psychopath; and a bit part in a film financed by a famous matador. But an education like this doesn't come cheap. Will our heroine be forced back to the States to fulfill her destiny as a librarian, or can she keep up her whirlwind Parisian existence?

Virago

The Echoing Grove

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

Mamma was fast asleep at home, her spirit lapped in unconsciousness. Her dreams would not divine that her daughter had stolen out to meet a lover.And next door also they slept unawares, while one of them broke from the circle and came alone to clasp a stranger . . .'Judith Earle, over-earnest and inexperienced, has always been a little in love with each of the four cousins who come to stay next door and, on her return from Cambridge, becomes madly in love with one of them - Roddy, the 'sensation-hunter'. DUSTY ANSWER traces with delicate nostalgia childhood friendships and the pangs of thwarted young love.

Virago

A Sea-Grape Tree

Rosamond Lehmann
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The Swan In The Evening

Rosamond Lehmann