The Flight of the Maidens

Jane Gardam,

The Flight of the Maidens
The Whitbread Award–winning author of the Old Filth trilogy captures a moment in time for three young women on the cusp of adulthood.

Yorkshire, 1946. The end of the war has changed the world again, and, emboldened by this new dawning, Hetty Fallows, Una Vane, and Lieselotte Klein seize the opportunities with enthusiasm. Hetty, desperate to escape the grasp of her critical mother, books a solo holiday to the Lake District under the pretext of completing her Oxford summer coursework. Una, the daughter of a disconcertingly cheery hairdresser, entertains a romantically inclined young man from the wrong side of the tracks and the left-side of politics. Meanwhile, Lieselotte, the mysterious Jewish refugee from Germany, leaves the Quaker family who had rescued her, to test herself in London. Although strikingly different from one another, these young women share the common goal of adventure and release from their middle-class surroundings through romance and education.

“Gardam’s lean, fast-paced prose is at turns hugely funny and deeply moving. . . . [Her] characters are acutely and compassionately observed.” —Atlantic Monthly

“Quirky, enchanting . . . with lively, laugh-out loud elan.” —The Baltimore Sun

“Splendid . . . Gardam’s style is perfect.” —The New York Times Book Review

“With winning charm and wit . . . Gardam frames her story in dozens of crisp, brief scenes featuring deliciously dizzy conversation.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Ebullient, humorous, and wise, this is a novel to savor.” —Booklist

“The portrait of postwar England as conventions crumble and the country is rebuilt is terrific.” —Publishers Weekly

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