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'.

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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

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 . . .

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My Brilliant Career

Miles Franklin
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The Weather In The Streets

Rosamond Lehmann

Taking up where AN INVITATION TO THE WALTZ left off, THE WEATHER IN THE STREETS shows us Olivia Curtis ten years older, a failed marriage behind her, thinner, sadder, and apprently not much wiser. A chance encounter on a train with a man who enchanted her as a teenager leads to a forbidden love affair and a new world of secret meetings, brief phone calls and snatched liaisons in anonymous hotel rooms.Years ahead of its time when first published, this subtle and powerful novel shocked even the most stalwart Lehmann fans with its searing honesty and passionate portrayal of clandestine love.

Virago

Life Mask

Emma Donoghue
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Life Mask

Emma Donoghue
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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 . . .

Virago

The Lady and the Unicorn

Rumer Godden

In a crumbling Calcutta mansion, with faded frescos and a jasmine-covered garden, the Lemarchant family live, clinging to the fringes of respectability: neither Indian nor English, they are accepted by no one and exploited by all.After only a day in India, Stephen Bright meets Rosa Lemarchant. In an ill-fitting dress once belonging to her sister, she is awkward and shy, and couldn't be more different from the stories he has heard of fast 'Eurasian' girls. Ignorant of Calcutta's strict codes of conformity, he falls in love with Rosa and becomes enchanted by the building in which she lives, determined to uncover its secrets.Mystery pervades this story of a memory-haunted house in old Calcutta, as secret as a sundial in a ruined garden.

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
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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.

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Mossy Trotter

Elizabeth Taylor
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Complete Short Stories

Elizabeth Taylor
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The Dud Avocado

Elaine Dundy
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The Echoing Grove

Rosamond Lehmann
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Dusty Answer

Rosamond Lehmann
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A Sea-Grape Tree

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.