Evensong by Beverley Nichols was first published in 1932 and it’s one of his straight novels, there are very few mentions of anything botanical at all, apart from flowers sent to a well-know operatic diva. Sadly, mine didn’t have its dust cover, shown to the right.
Pauline is a young Canadian woman who is travelling to England to be with her Aunt Irela who is a famous opera singer. Pauline is now alone in the world after the death of her father and she ends up being a paid companion to her aunt. This is no easy task as Irela is a bit of a monster, manipulative and spoiled, she has to be the centre of attraction, but she’s also miserably mean. Nichols wrote what can only be called an homage to Jane Austen when he has Irela arguing with herself over how much (little) money she should give her niece as payment.
Time is catching up with Irela though and her voice is nothing like as good as it once was, she can’t hit top C now and has to have well known arias re-scored so she can still sing them, not that she would ever admit that.
There’s a love interest for Pauline of course, but can she break away from her aunt? Or will she be stuck running after her forever?
This was enjoyable, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as his better known garden/home books such as Down the Garden Path or A Thatched Roof.