Anne Severn and the Fieldings
Written in an era of cheap, formulaic romantic fiction, the nuanced, seditious, quietly erotic novels of May Sinclair stand out like literature from another era entirely. There is romance in “Anne Severn & the Fieldings,” but it’s romance of the best and profoundest kind, set in the context of authentic human personalities and tragic historical events. The motherless Anne Severn is adopted into the Fielding family and grows up in intimate friendship with the three Fielding sons, all of whom love her. World War I explodes into their lives with hideous effect, sending all three sons back damaged in one way or another. Anne herself sees the horrors of war as an ambulance driver, meeting along the way (in a whimsical little self-referential sentence) a “queer little middle-aged lady out for a job at the front” whom we recognize as May Sinclair herself, who volunteered for just such an adventure in 1914. Sinclair always was half-Victorian, half-modern, so it is no surprise to find her using subtle, lovely, dreamlike, decorous prose to undermine social conventions on all sides. Most startling, perhaps, is the unambiguous sexuality that complicates the lives of her characters, troubling marriages and consummating true love. She creates personalities about whom we care much more than we care about proprieties and social boundaries, and Anne Severn stands as one of Sinclair’s most courageous and compelling heroines.
First Page:ANNE SEVERN AND THE FIELDINGS
III Anne and Jerrold
V Eliot and Anne
VIII Anne and Colin
XII Colin, Jerrold, and Anne
XIII Anne and Jerrold
XV Anne, Jerrold, and Maisie
XVI Anne, Maisie, and Jerrold
XVII Jerrold, Maisie, Anne, Eliot
XVIII Jerrold and Anne
XIX Anne and Eliot
XX Jerrold, Maisie, and Anne
ANNE SEVERN AND THE FIELDINGS
Anne Severn had come again to the Fieldings. This time it was because her mother was dead.
She hadn't been in the house five minutes before she asked "Where's Jerrold?"
"Fancy," they said, "her remembering."
And Jerrold had put his head in at the door and gone out again when he saw her there in her black frock; and somehow she had known he was afraid to come in because her mother was dead.
Her father had brought her to Wyck on the Hill that morning, the day after the funeral. He would leave her there when he went back to India.
She was walking now down the lawn between the two tall men... Continue reading book >>
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