It was with great sadness that I heard this afternoon of the death of a wonderful writer whose work I really only got to know well recently through writing an interview for a forthcoming issue of the Historical Novels Review.
I first read The Light Years with my book group last year and enjoyed it so much that it led me on to the next books in the quartet that make up the Cazalet Chronicle. It was a real delight then to hear that Elizabeth Jane Howard, then aged 90, was writing a fifth book in the saga and I was thrilled to be given a chance to interview her for the magazine. When a preview book of All Change appeared, I read it with enormous pleasure: this was an author still brilliantly able to capture the essence of human nature, noting intimate characteristics, strengths and weaknesses, and setting it against a postwar world of rapid change, but also new beginnings. Women and children are portrayed with the greatest sensitivity: the former because Howard always has been a strong female voice, and the latter because with nearly a dozen grandchildren, she is not short of raw material for observation!
“Elizabeth Jane Howard: A Tribute” will appear in the February issue of Historical Novels Review.