Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Unknown Bridesmaid by Margaret Forster

Paperback: 234 pages
Genre: Literary Fiction
Publisher: Chatto and Windus 2013
Source: Tywyn Public Library
First Sentences: Julia gave the child the doll and waited. There was a toy cradle in the room and a toy pram, the old fashioned sort, not a buggy.
Review Quote: "Margaret Forster is a brilliant and prolific writer... her latest novel is one of her best. It's a gripping read" (Observer)
My Opinion:   Immensely readable.

Margaret Forster has a wonderful gift for storytelling and I have been enjoying her writing since the late nineteen-sixties. The Unknown Bridesmaid was no exception a beautifully crafted tale of family relationships, that I found immensely readable. 

Featuring Julia a successful child psychologist that spends her working life counselling young girls with supposed behavioural problems. The story is written from Julia's perspective both in the present day, where her work in the present seems to trigger memories from her own troubled childhood. The flashbacks start from when she was invited to be a bridesmaid for a cousin. The narrative moves smoothly from present to past with no confusion as Julia's childhood unfolds as her childhood demons catch up with her and she faces up to the fact that she needs to know the truth. It may not be as destructive as she fears but to find out you will have to read for yourself.

Recommended to all readers that want a novel that is both thought provoking and realistically portrays family relationships.

Author Profile

                     Image courtesy of Eamonn McCabe
Margaret Forster was born in Carlisle, England on May 25th 1938, where she grew up and lived until going to Somerville CollegeOxford to read modern history. Since graduating in 1961, after a brief period as a teacher she has gone on to work as  a novelist, biographer and freelance literary critic, contributing regularly to book programmes on television, radio and various newspapers and magazines. She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1975.
She has been married to to the writer, journalist and broadcaster Hunter Davies since the day after she finished her final exams in 1961, having met and fallen in love when she was just seventeen. They have three children, Caitlin, Jake and Flora. She divides her time, living six months in London and the same in the Lake District.  Since 1963 Margaret Forster has worked as a novelist, biographer and freelance literary critic, contributing regularly to book programmes on television, to Radio 4 and various newspapers and magazines.
The biographical information and photo used in this post are with thanks to the following websites, where you can also find more information about the author and her writing.

Margaret Forster - Wikipedia       British Council - Literature   Goodreads - Author Profile
Gwen John - Wikipedia    Wikimedia Commons

Linking up today with Literary Friday


  1. I love novels about family relationships….perhaps because I'm an only child….
    I think it's interesting that Margaret Forster is a literary critic. I know it shapes her writing….I would love to read a few of her books and have a conversation with her!

    Super review. Thanks for linking-up, Linda!

    Enjoy your Christmas travels!


  2. Margaret Forster is I think a very talented lady and yes it would be so interesting to meet with her. Thanks for your best wishes for my travels. I hope to publish al my outstanding reviews before I go!

  3. Hi Linda. I also have long been a fan of this author, and this certainly sounds like one I would love. I really do enjoy family sagas and, also , books that take us from the past to the present , and vice versa. Another excellent review.

  4. She sounds like someone I should have known about, as much as I read, but I didn't. Now that I do, I will check her out. Thanks for this introduction.

  5. This sounds really interesting, family relationships are often different yet equally interesting to read, thanks for the intro.


  6. Thanks so much for the intro. I'm always looking for new reads and authors!


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