Invitation to the Waltz

Living is going on on the other side of the wall, but I’ve left it. I don’t want it. I hate it; it hates and rejects me. I forget and am forgotten. I’m nothing.

Book review of Invitation to the waltz by Rosamond Lehamnn

Title: Invitation to the Waltz
Author: Rosamond Lehmann
First Published: 1932
My Rating: 3 of 5 stars (average rating on Goodreads: 3.86)
The Beginning: The village, in the hollow below the house, is picturesque, unhygienic.

Olivia Curtis is shy and sensitive; her sister Kate is beautiful and popular. Olivia reads books and writes poetry, Kate is social and outgoing. They’re both invited to a ball and we follow their expectations and feelings towards their peers – potential dancing partners in particular. I’ve always been drawn to this type of story. Over the years, I’ve learned to act like a Kate, but deep down inside I have an Olivia – and I treasure her.

It was the beginning of the mood that led to wanting to write poetry. Veils of illusion seemed to float over the familiar scene, half-hiding, half-revealing it under an eternal aspect. It looked like the picture of the village, not like itself.

I was, however, slightly disappointed by this one. I kept thinking ‘If only this story was written by Tove Ditlevsen’. She would have let us under the characters’ skin in ways Rosamond Lehmann only tries to do. Even though her writing is beautiful, she never really takes us there, right to the centre of our heroine’s soul.

Some time later, I’ll think about this. It will seem important, extraordinary, upsetting. No time now. I’m going to a dance. Let’s forget it.

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