Book Review: The Flight Of The Maidens By Jane Gardam

B 7

The Flight of the Maidens follows three young women’s journey into womanhood. It chronicles the lives of three country girls in a post-World War II era as they embarked on college, with each getting scholarships at a university. There’s Hetty Fallowes, who has a mind of her own and is trying to find the courage to get off her loving but tactless mother. Una Vane, the level-headed daughter of a salon  owner, is romantically linked with the milk delivery boy, Ray, and Liesellote Klein, who is part of the Kindertransport burdened by a tragic past caused by the war. Together, the three somehow discovered some sort of solace with one another as they experienced life outside their realm for the first time.

“…The Maidens” is nowhere near the likes of Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants or Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women of some sort. There was more life in it and intelligence in how author Jane Gardam told their story. There was a strong narrative for each girl that collectively felt similar as they went through life.

Much of the pages were focused on Hetty, whose character reminds me so much of the young Jane Austen or, in a modern world, the ambitious young Elizabeth Taylor. There was depth in her understanding and the way she dealt with each situation—a heavily realistic approach that lends a great deal of scope to what young girls her age really feel.

While Una, despite her cool head and independence, still has the idealism of a young girl, She’s not perfect, and she knows it, so she’s trying to manage and deal with her mother, her beau, and her entry to Cambridge. I am very happy that by the end of it, the ever-so-charming Ray was “presumably” her first and last.

Liesellote, on the other hand, was barely having a life as she was still trying to move on from the fact that her family died during the holocaust. I love the fact that Gardam isn’t pretentious at all with her characters. There was a sense of realness in them and a tangible vibe that captured the spirit of their journey.

I’ve only wished that the angle about Rupert (the man that Hetty fell in love with in the latter part of the book) was thoroughly explained and perhaps prolonged at some point. It wouldn’t hurt Hetty’s character, I guess, or maybe I’m just being romantic, that’s all.

Overall, the novel was a great, sympathetic, and humorous narrative that soars high enough to engulf the reader’s elusive attention, thus providing enough steam to power up the flight of the maidens.

Ratings: 2 out of 5 stars


Your Thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.