Margaret Drabble The Seven Sisters

The Seven SistersThe Seven Sisters by Margaret Drabble

This is my review from Goodreads

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Candida Wilton is divorced. She has been the wife of a head teacher of a school in Suffolk, carrying out the duties that go with such a marriage until her husband left her for another woman. After her divorce she moves to London, and is filled with excitement, and determination that she will build a new life. She joins an adult evening class, studying Virgil’s Aeneid, which she did at school, although Candida recognises this as anachronistic. Indeed it is, as the Evening Institute is closed, replaced by a Health Club. As a former Evening Institute member she is offered free membership of the Health Club for a year, and takes it up, making new friends. Unexpectedly, she comes into some money, not a lot, but she plans to use the money to follow Aeneas’ steps from Carthage, now Tunisia, to Naples and Rome. She gathers round her friends from her evening class, including their teacher, from the Health Club, and from her school days, to join her in this expedition. The novel explores how the relationships between the seven women develop, what each of them need, and what they can give each other. The characters are wonderfully varied, besides Candida, Anais al-Sayyab, an exotic, who joins the Virgil class, Sally Hepburn, a school-friend, always scoring points, Cynthia Barclay, a generous woman living with an older man, Mrs Jerrold, the teacher from the Virgil class, kindly, but serious in her pursuit of Virgil, Julia Jordan (an actor, “for a wicked woman she was surprisingly punctual”), and the beautiful Valeria, their tour guide, who drives their tour bus like a maniac, but understand her charges, and tries to give them what they want.

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