How It All Began

How It All Began, by Penelope Lively

This novel explores how one event affects the lives of ten Londoners, with results no one could predict. Charlotte, a retired English teacher, moves in with her daughter Rose after an accident. Rose’s employer Sir Henry, an elderly historian, takes his niece Marion to a speaking engagement when Rose is unavailable. Train tickets and speech notes get left behind. Marion meets a new interior design client at the luncheon. A text she sends her lover Jeremy is intercepted by Stella, his wife. Charlotte’s English as a second language student Anton comes to Rose’s house for reading lessons and makes friends with Rose.

Penelope Lively writes with wit, humor, and poignancy, creating characters who linger after the book is finished. I think readers would also enjoy Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, by Helen Simonson.


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