by Sukey HowardNovember, 2007
Unto the generations
Penelope Lively's prose is so wonderfully smooth that it carries you into an intricately structured plot without your realizing how finely crafted it is. That smoothness is mirrored perfectly in Josephine Bailey's reading of Consequences, Lively's 14th novel that follows three generations of women. It's 1935 when Lorna meets Matt on a park bench in London. Their worlds are far apart, she stifled by her upper-class life, he a talented young artist just beginning. Their love is instant and absolute, shattered only by Matt's death in WWII. Their daughter Molly grows up in war-battered London to be smart, independent and infinitely appealing. Refusing to marry the wealthy, well-connected father of her child, she brings Ruth up herself, and then discovers real love much later in life. Ruth, now a divorced mother, finds herself intrigued with Lorna and Matt and, returning to where it all began, may find happiness, too. Through love, loss, heartbreak and healing, these women endure, connecting all that went before with all that is and all that is to come.