Chapter Excerpt

[Lively's] characters are beguiling, and her blend of romance and stinging social commentary is tonic. —Booklist ReviewLondon, 1935: A chance meeting on a park bench on the eve of World War II sets in motion a love affair that reverberates through three generations. Matt and Lorna are deeply, defiantly, in love; they marry, and Lorna is pregnant when Matt is called for duty. But the war means Matt's death in action; it cuts short his artist's career and changes the course of Lorna's life. The war means that Lorna will marry again and that Molly, their daughter, will grow up in a blasted landscape of bomb sites and boarded windows, of households reconfigured by loss. But a chance look at a forgotten newspaper on the London tube leads Molly into her first job—and into the life of James Portland, a wealthy man she cannot love; and the postwar period gives way to a new era. Thirty years later, Ruth, Molly's own daughter, leaves her marriage for a journey that takes her back to 1941, to a new resolution of her own history and that of her family.Told in Penelope Lively's incomparable prose, Consequences is a powerful story of growth, death, and renewal, and a study of the previous century—its major and minor events, the shaping of consciousness and lives, and a reaffirmation of the force of connection between generations.Lively has crafted a fine novel: intricate, heartbreaking and redemptive. —Publishers Weekly

Excerpted from Consequences by Penelope Lively
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