The Friendly Young Ladies: A Novel

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Open Road Media, Dec 31, 2013 - Fiction - 294 pages
A wry romp through 1930s mores, social and sexual
Progressive for its time as well as ours, The Friendly Young Ladies is a deftly witty comedy set in England between the wars. At eighteen, Elsie has had enough of life at her bickering parents’ Cornwall home. She decides to join up with her bohemian older sister, Leo, in the city. Leo’s life is full of surprises—not least her significant other, Helen, a beautiful nurse. As Elsie gets acquainted with Leo’s world, new characters—including a novelist and a doctor deluded enough to chase all three women at once—come into play. With acid humor and a supremely light touch, The Friendly Young Ladies colors in an unseen dimension of the 1930s.

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User Review  - atreic - LibraryThing

I read this book because I was reading reviews of the Well of Loneliness, and it was mentioned. In fact, the comment was something like 'oh God, the Well of Loneliness, it's so up itself and tortured ... Read full review

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User Review  - themulhern - LibraryThing

The writing is excellent which makes the story effective. The young Elsie is a very sad character who doesn't have much grasp of the reality that everybody else seems to understand so well, but their ... Read full review

Selected pages


Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter VI
Chapter VII
Chapter VIII
Chapter XIV
Chapter XV
Chapter XVI
Chapter XVII
Chapter XVIII
Chapter XIX
Chapter XX
Chapter XXI

Chapter IX
Chapter X
Chapter XI
Chapter XII
Chapter XIII
Chapter XXII
A Biography of Mary Renault

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About the author (2013)

Born in London as Eileen Mary Challans in 1905 and educated at the University of Oxford, Mary Renault trained as a nurse at Oxford's Radcliffe Infirmary. It was there that she met her lifelong partner, fellow nurse Julie Mullard. After completing her training, Renault wrote her first novel, Purposes of Love, in 1937. In 1948, after her novel Return to Night won an MGM prize worth $150,000, she and Mullard immigrated to South Africa. There, Renault wrote the historical novels that would define her career. In 2006, Renault was the subject of a BBC 4 documentary, and her books, many of which remain in print on both sides of the Atlantic, are often sought after for radio and dramatic interpretation. In 2010, Fire From Heaven was shortlisted for the 1970 Lost Booker prize. 

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