30 Day Book Challenge: Day 5

Day 5: Book you wish you could live in

I thought long and hard about this one. There are so many stories that I have loved over the years, so many worlds and times that part of me would love to live in. And then I realised that a lot of bad things happen in those worlds. My favourite characters are almost always faced with trials, horrors and pain… I find it hard enough toread about these, let alone actually live in them for myself! So I chose the lesser of many dark, painful worlds, that kind of works out okay in the end.

(P.S. I’m assuming I get to live wherever, right? Because if I end up in the poor sector, I’m going back home!)

The Spoils of Time series by Penny Vincenzi

The three books that make up the Spoils of Time series are set predominately in London, but also in France and America, and they span the period from the end of the 19th century, to around the 1960s. But the setting of the novel itself is not why I would want to live there, though it does help. Beginning with No Angel, the series focuses on the Lytton family, and particularly its matriarch, Lady Celia. When the series begins, Celia is about 19 years old, pregnant, and marrying Oliver Lytton against the firm wishes of her mother who believes the match is beneath her. Celia is a fantastic character, filled with passion, determination and courage – but, like all of my favourite characters, she makes her fair share of mistakes.

Much of the series takes place around Lytton’s, the family publishing house run by Oliver, and in which Celia is determined to work, despite the fact that upper-class women in the early 20th century were not expected to work. The novels touch on life during two World Wars, and the depression and we see the family (ever extending) as they go through intense struggles, happiness, and test the strength of their relationships.

This is a fantastic series! The characters are strong and relatable and utterly three-dimensional. As well as Celia and Oliver, there are so many characters whom I enjoy reading about: Barty Miller, Venetia Lytton, Izzy Brooke, Jay Lytton, Kit Lytton, Elspeth Lytton… The list goes on and on. I also really enjoy the historical aspect of the series, so much 20th century history is covered in this series, and done well! And then there’s the fact that it’s set in a publishing house. I would jump at the chance to be in a London publishing house during the early to mid-20th century! Sounds fantastic!

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