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The Soul of Kindness

By (author) Elizabeth Taylor
Format: Hardback
Publisher: Vintage Publishing, London, United Kingdom
Imprint: Chatto & Windus
Published: 30th Nov 1964
Dimensions: w 130mm h 190mm
Weight: 361g
ISBN-10: 0701111410
ISBN-13: 9780701111410
Barcode No: 9780701111410

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Kirkus US
A softly-shaded portrait of a lady is achieved through the fond glances and permissive pretenses of her friends and family, although as someone remarks toward the close- "Someone always has to look after Flora, and let her think she's looking after them." For Flora, whose mother has cosseted her since childhood, basks in the admiration of all; she has a Botticelli beauty and sanctity, a gracious composure which nothing has been permitted to disturb. Those around her are less privileged; her mother who has given her up generously to her son-in-law and whose empty days now are filled by fretful concerns for her health; her friend Meg, drifting into spinsterhood; Meg's brother, Kit, who has always adored her, and in whom she has encouraged notions of a talent he does not have; her husband, Richard, who entertains occasional disloyal thoughts and who escapes to the reality of a neighbor's companionship and conversation. Suddenly Flora's world is threatened (by the loss of her housekeeper; Richard's imagined defection; Kit's attempted suicide) but it is returned to her even though all around her now know the extent of her benevolent victimization... Miss Taylor, as always, within a distinctly feminine province, provides considerable serendipity; among the small pleasures again in evidence are the ironic insights, the pointed contrasts and the niceties of phrase. (Kirkus Reviews)