The French Lieutenant's Woman is another book that's been on my 'should read' list for a while. However, I was under the impression that it was another book that had been written in the 19th century and listening to the first chapter did nothing to dispel this idea. Hence, in researching for this blog post, it was something of a surprise to discover it was written as late as the 1960s.
It has a similarly slow start to Lorna Doone, in that the first chapter is entirely taken up with descriptions of Lyme Regis and the three protagonists (or at least, who I assume they are at this stage!). However, whereas the opening to my Devon book had me wondering what on earth I'd let myself in for, Fowles' scene setting was such that although I was pounding the pavements of a mild, if slightly damp, Brightlingsea, in my mind I could see the wind lashed Cobb complete with the mysterious woman in black looking out over the sea. I could picture Ernestina's fashionable outfit standing out vividly against the grey sea and sky and contrasting sharply with Tragedy's dull apparel. From the little I've allowed myself to read of the novel's plot, this disparity of dress reflects the women themselves.
One of the reasons I chose this book for Dorset was because it came up as being a book containing a child with uncertain parentage and as such, it links with the novel I'm currently researching. However, based on the first couple of chapters, I have high hopes that it will be one I will enjoy as well. I just need the next postcard to arrive so I can continue with the short stories and excerpts from Faith's narrative.