Confusion by Elizabeth Jane Howard is the third book in her Cazalet Chronicles, it was first published in 1993. World War 2 is in full swing now and the Cazalet’s lumber business is in trouble because the government is insisting that they pay tax on the wood that was destroyed when their dockside warehouses were bombed in the previous book. But that’s by the by. It’s the personal lives of the family members that fill the book of course.
Louise has married the much older artist Michael Hadleigh, but he’s now in the navy and Michael is still attached to his mother’s apron strings. When he gets leave he spends the time with mummy and it isn’t long before it’s obvious that he has only married Louise so that she can provide him with loads of children – and then he will have plenty of subjects to paint right on hand. Too late Louise realises that he isn’t really interested in women at all, and her mother-in-law is a monster.
I can imagine that some readers might think that the mother-in-law is completely over the top but there are some around that are exactly like that. Believe me!
In fact in Confusion many of the characters are coming to the end of relationships, whether they know it or not.
Despite the fact that the Louise/Michael relationship was getting my blood pressure up and I was planning what I would do to Edward if I were his wife I did really enjoy this book and I’ll be reading the next one in the series Casting Off – early in the new year. I think that Sandra @ A Corner of Cornwall and I are doing a readalong of it.
I’m going to be starting reading Christmas themed books soon in an attempt to get me into the spirit of it all and I’ll be joining the Spirit of Christmas Challenge, but more about that soonish.