by: Monica Dickens first published in 1953
‘Times are changed with him who marries; there are no more bypath meadows where you may innocently linger, but the road lies long and straight and dusty to the grave.’ So wrote Robert Louis Stevenson. Christine feels bound to agree. ‘My wife can do anything,’ Vinson says. Struggling to comply with this statement, Christine has to adjust to life in America, whilst catering to Vinson’s idea of a good spouse. She must force a sycophantic smile for the wife of Admiral Hamer (who wears patent-leather shoes like bananas) in an effort to ease his promotion. There must be a cold Turkey and a cold ham at every party and she must suffer her ridiculous mother-in-law. Bitter arguments are relieved by bleak silences. As the realities of married life wash away her rosy dream of it, Christine begins to wonder if Vinson is really what she wants.
No More Meadows unravels the threads of a very real marriage. Full of her inimitable warmth and sense of idiosyncratic character, Monica Dickens explores Christine’s heart-warming – and at times heart-breaking – search for happiness.
My copy is a Mermaid Book, published by Michael Joseph/Purnell & Sons. I have three of these lovely little books, all Monica Dickens books. I’ve read Thursday Afternoons already and still have My Turn to Make the Tea to read. You can read about Mermaid Books here. They are small, laminated cardboard books, sometimes referred to as limpbacks.
I always enjoy Monica Dickens books. She writes characters very well, I’m always immediately invested in them. This story about an English girl who marries an American Navy Officer and moves to America shortly after the war, England still had rationing going on, was a nice look at some of our differences. Christine and Vinson were as different people as the US and England are as countries. She came from a gregarious, loving, argumentative family and a house full of animals. He came from a divorced family that wasn’t close at all, in fact went years without seeing each other. I’ve never read a book that had both such a sad and happy ending at the same time. I was taken by surprise at the ending of this one.