An Impossible Marriage MOBI ☆ An Impossible eBook

10 thoughts on “An Impossible Marriage

  1. Kirsty Kirsty says:

    I picked up my first Pamela Hansford Johnson novel An Impossible Marriage during a pre Christmas trip to the Oxfam bookshop in St Albans  The author has been on my radar for ages but probably because this once incredibly popular author has unfairly been forgotten I had never been able to find any of her books  Thankfully Hodder has begun to reprint her work in physical editions and uite a few are available for a small fee from the Kindle storeAntiuated magazine Britannia and Eve A Monthly Journal for Men Women wrote that this novel first published in 1954 contains 'a story so vivid it might be the memoir of a real person'  Set between the wars An Impossible Marriage focuses upon young protagonist Christine known as Christie  She is 'tired of London her job in a travel agency her friends and the young men she's being set up with'  By chance Christie meets an older man named Ned Skelton who 'seems sophisticated and experienced' and she 'uickly becomes besotted'  'But' the uestion at the heart of this novel asks 'will marriage to a man she doesn't know well truly offer this young woman an escape?  Or is she walking into another prison of her own making?'We first meet the elusive Ned fourteen years her senior at a dance which Christie attends with her friends  In retrospect Christie writes 'But this love of my eighteenth year was heedless irrational and storming  I would not believe in it; it seemed not part of myself like bone flesh and fibre but a hard and alien thing which had lodged itself within me'  Their later engagement comes as an enormous shock to Christie whose 'inner critic' warns her against this decision 'The critic within me had something to say; but I would not listen  Not at that time'  When Ned gives her an engagement ring Christie is horrified 'But though the ring might be little it seemed to weigh heavily upon my finger  I was almost painfully aware of it  And it seemed to me strange and alarming the thought that I must wear it until I died' An Impossible Marriage is profound and considered from the outset  In the first paragraph for instance Christie narrates 'I do not like looking back down the chasm of the past and seeing in a moment of vertigo some terror that looks like a joy some joy crouched like a terror  It is better to keep one's eyes on the rock face of the present for that is real; what is under your nose is actual but the past is full of lies and the only accurate memories are those we refuse to admit to our consciousness' She is a wise character  Later in the novel she comments 'The most dangerous of all our plans are the ones we formulate right at the backs of our minds and leave to grow there like water cultures  They are the plans we never examine until we put them into practice  The moment they are exposed we realise our hideous recklessness  We realise the damage we have done'I immediately connected with Hansford Johnson's prose style  Throughout I found myself admiring Christie's wry narrative and amusing asides as well as the way in which the novel has been so skilfully crafted  Christie's interactions with others have been well considered particularly in those instances where she is feeling anguished or anxiousI was completely entranced by this coming of age story  I loved the tone of the book and its tight taut writing  Hansford Johnson is sharp and perceptive with regard to both characters and scenes  At one point in the book she writes of winter in London 'Sunday was a day of snow  It lay in a crusting of black and silver beads along the privets in the front garden clung in lichen patches to the rooftops and was stacked hard as steel in the gutters  The sky looked white and hard; there was sun behind it but it would remain invisible would not break through'  Christine feels entirely realistic throughout and even the secondary characters hum with life  Tension builds wonderfully under Hansford Johnson's pen  Had this novel been twice the length I still would have delighted in itUpon her death in 1981 Hansford Johnson was described by the New York Times as 'one of Britain's best known novelists'  I can only hope that hundreds of other readers discover her and soon  Her writing is such a treat to read  I for one am so excited that she has a vast oeuvre of twenty seven novels plus countless other publications; I imagine that there are a lot of gems in store for me to discover

  2. Ali Ali says:

    There was a small part of me that didn’t want to like Pamela Hansford Johnson; An Impossible Marriage the first of her novels I have tried As many of you will know I love the writer Elizabeth Taylor – and Elizabeth Taylor and Pamela Hansford Johnson were contemporaries only they didn’t exactly get along Apparently according to the one biography of Elizabeth Taylor which exists – The Other Elizabeth Taylor which I have read twice Pamela Hansford Johnson and Olivia Manning were really uite vile about Elizabeth Taylor and her work – spitefully so although I get the impression that Elizabeth Taylor gave as good as she got – in private at least which is fair enough As an ardent fan of Elizabeth Taylor I felt that reading PHJ was a bit of a betrayal – I know that’s bonkers Worse still I really liked the book and no doubt will read of her work sorry Elizabeth For those of you with no such ualms it is good to see Bello books re printing Pamela Hansford novels as paperbacks and ebooks An Impossible Marriage was being offered for about 59p so it seemed a good opportunity to at least try her work – I am now actually very glad that I did “The Dutch boy put his finger to the breach in the dam and he stemmed the sea but the sea held him prisoner I was caught I was done for I was frightened—what other word? Not terrified Not panicked Simply as a child frightened It is frightful to be caught by your future in a corridor of youth to feel its hands of iron across your eyes Caught you Did you think you could go further? There are corridors and corridors rooms and rooms gateways that open on to gardens orientally bright with peonies and singing birds but they aren’t for you You’ve been caught right at the beginning of the game This is your end this is the end for you”animpossiblemarriage2A coming of age style story An Impossible Marriage tells the story of a young woman Christine or Christie between the wars forced to grow up a little too soon As a young woman still in her teens Christie lives in the shadow of her beautiful manipulative friend Iris Allbright Christie is sympathetically drawn as a young girl with a lot to learn haven’t we all been there? Iris is brilliantly awful with her baby talk flirting and man stealingAs the novel opens we meet Christie than twenty years on – arriving at Iris Allbright’s flat to see her old friend for the first time in many years a meeting that Christie is rather dreading and which takes her thoughts back to the time when they were young women togetherYoung Christie already involved in an unsatisfactory romance with Leslie – his slightly over inflated ideas of himself hide his true naivety – longs for something glorious Working as an office junior Christie as the youngest newest member is given some of the dullest jobs to do and has to work hard to keep herself on the right side of her boss Her youth and inexperience is the biggest problem in her relationships for Christie has a lot to learn in her ways of dealing with people as we all do when young During an awkward blind date arranged by Iris Christie first spots Ned Skelton a much older man who she is instantly attracted toGradually having dispensed with the hapless Leslie Christie finds herself in a heady relationship with Ned; he has a past which includes a mistress called Wanda sexual experience and a strangely beguiling presence Christie has also to learn to listen to that small voice inside of us – the voice that can act as an early warning system “I told him that I would do whatever he said that I would learn from him that I would trust my life to him When he thought I was sufficiently conscious of my errors he took me and kissed me until I was breathless with joy and on the edge of hysterical tears; but inside of me a small cold critic sat aloof”For the reader there is something rather unpleasant about Ned he’s not obviously cruel certainly not violent but he is uietly manipulative and when Christie meets his family she has reason to hear faint alarm bells Instead of being suspicious of this gauche young girl and protective of their adored Ned as Christie had fully expected them to be they seem instead rather too glad to pass the responsibility of managing Ned onto Christie asking her abruptly to ensure he sticks to his work Christie and Ned’s engagement is not trouble free disagreements which result in Christie running home in tears concerns over Ned’s latest business and later the start of real doubts for Christie Ned is uick to soothe Christie’s doubts – and the marriage eventually takes place celebrated along the lines dictated by Ned “Now if many of us know the pressures of the inner critic many of us also recognise – though not until his task has been carried out – the activities of the secret planner We are unhappy in the prison of our lives – we want to break out And so without realising what we do since it is the secret planner who thinks for us we slowly lay our schemes for escape”Having given up her job Christie finds married life to be not uite all she had expected A little older now although only twenty one Christie is soon to wonder at the choices she made and begins to plan her own liberationAn Impossible Marriage offers a fascinating exploration of the social expectations placed upon women at this time well written and perceptive; this will not be the only Pamela Hansford Johnson novel that I read

  3. Bettie Bettie says:

    Sainthood is acceptable only in sainheEnglish novelist playwright poet literary and social critic Pamela Hansford Johnson was born #OnThisDay in 1912 #ReadMoreWomen

  4. Nadia Zeemeeuw Nadia Zeemeeuw says:

    I keep going through the favorite books of my youth So happy this one stood the test of time I read this book in my teens under another title it was published in USSR as «Кристина» I remember me begging my parents’ friends to lend me this book back then the books were a true treasure in our country It was love at first sight Since then I’ve been dreaming to have my own copy So now I have it and this fact brings me a lot of joy Such a shame that Pamela Hansford Johnson today is almost forgotten novelist though back to the beginning of 20th century she was one of Britain best loved ones I should check out of her novels

  5. Kate Kate says:

    An absolutely fantastic read Set pre WWII the novel tells the story of Christineher friendships family and at the core of the book her marriage to Ned The book is well written and I freuently forgot it was written in the 1950's as many of the themes and issues raised resonate with contemporary conflicts women in 21st century face in relation to marriage in laws and the conflict between full time motherhood and the career woman I shall certainly be reading Pamela Hansford Johnson

  6. Jackie Jackie says:

    A beautifully written tale of a woman's difficult marriage before the Second World War Expectations of women in those times were so difficult and so limiting but this woman learns to stand up for herself and still maintain dignity A good social history lesson

  7. Gurth Bruins Gurth Bruins says:

    It is seldom I award less than 5 stars Why waste time with inferior stuff? Would I expect you to do that?But now I'm giving this book 3 stars And will give 3 again or or less to try and practise some discrimination in the case of this authoress who is always top class and worth readingIn a word it's about man woman relationships for me the most important topic in fiction827 7th Feb 2018Who am I looking forward to reading as a staple diet? It was Joanna Trollope but alas I have come to the end of her menuMy next will be an old favourite a great novelist much decorated in her time who has now fallen into undeserved oblivionHaving last read her 40 to 50 years ago all her books will be new to me All 27 novelsJust finished 'An Impossible Marriage' very readable and anything but shallow and am looking to gorge myself on the other 26Gutenborg has not heard of her but Archiveorg has Good luck

  8. Heather Barrett Heather Barrett says:

    A very detailed and engrossing study of relationship and an interesting insight into pre WWll values and behaviours I liked the poetic prose which occurred to emphasis pivotal moments in the protagonist’s thoughts; these were uite metaphoric Yet the writing style was uite noticeably British in some phrasing and emphasis Actually I had some difficulty with the English use of a comma as a pause to accentuate the next word But the narrative style spares one unnecessary details and hence dignifies the insights into courtship friendships and in its terribly British way says ‘get on with it no need to wallow’Couldn’t put it down reminded me a bit of Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham Definitely worth the read

  9. Alena Alena says:

    I came across this book by chance in a bookshop not my usual way of picking books these days I also knew nothing about it before I started reading it The book feels slightly slow paced no cliffhangers on every page no unnecessary dramas and constant raising of stakes and I loved it for that It might not be a book you read from cover to cover in a day but it gives the reader a chance to get into the story instead of luring them in with tension so they get to the end as soon as possible and move on to the next book

  10. Wendy Wendy says:

    The author does not state a purpose and the dedication page appears to be in French – I think I love the appearance of old books and fell in love with this one on the shelf A way to a girl’s heart if to buy her a book and the way to a man’s is through his stomachPublished by the companion book club I imagine house wives are meant to read this at home while embroidering clothes Christie is the main character who is a Plane Jane trying to get through a marriage that she falls into in her youth with a much older man Growing up through the book she realises she cannot stand her husband but he simply will not let her goThe conclusion of this book feels it is foretold in the first three chapters but overall it is well written Similar themes to your modern day Jane Mansell or other trashy chic books that come free with Cosmo – this book however has a better cover and realism than romanceFrom Christies often selfish and blunt point of view she try’s to explain the complexities of her relationships but it always seems to lack emotion and be very practical – like reading an instruction book Ned her husband is a pitiful character who try’s to hold on to her until his moral undoing A nice book to read that will not upset you before bed timeThe book reminded me that literature is often churned out every year on the same topics – recycled with a different cover but the same underlying issues we all face with human relationships I can’t say it is a joyous book and maybe on a mental note its worth noting it wouldn’t make a favourable engagement giftI would recommend the book to my friends on the fact if I can’t give it away to someone it will take up space on my bookshelf and I’ll then have to take it to a charity shop when I remember After all books are for us all to shareOn a side note the companion book club note at the back of the page is darling ` The Club is not a library; all books are the property of members There is no entrance fee or any payment beyond the low Club price of each monthly book Details of membership will be sent on reuest Write to the Companion Book Club 8 Long Acre London Wc2` Maybe I will write to them and see if I get a reply?

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An Impossible Marriage [Reading] ➶ An Impossible Marriage By Pamela Hansford Johnson – Originally published in 1954 and set between the wars An Impossible Marriage is the classic coming of age story of a young woman forced to grow up too uickly when she marries a much older manLiving ou originally published in and set between the wars An Impossible Marriage is the classic coming of age story of a young woman forced to grow up too uickly when she marries a much older manLiving out her bright happy teenage years in south west London Christine's principal worries are jealousy of her dazzling best friend Iris Allbright and avoiding the disapproval of her manager if she's late from her lunch break But when Chris is suddenly whisked off her feet by the mysterious and much older Ned Skelton life changes for her almost overnightChoosing to give up An Impossible eBook ´ her job as a secretary in order to marry Christine commits herself to life with Ned only to discover that this beguiling man may not be the person she originally thought.