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Lucy Carmichael – Margaret Kennedy’s tenth novel, first published in 1951 and a work by a mature novelist at the height of her powers – opens on an unforgettably disastrous scene, as the novel’s eponymous heroine, preparing to savour her wedding day, is instead jilted at the altar. Lucy Carmichael’s recovery from this calamity forms the substance of the story that follows. She takes a job in the rural Lincolnshire village of Ravonsbridge, at an educational institute established by a wealthy manufacturer for the cultural benefit of the local community. This employment will come to offer Lucy a second chance at romance, but it also brings her unexpectedly into contact with a host of remarkable characters who will influence how she sees the world.Lucy Carmichael has a density of realism, full of details and observations that the reader will recognize as truthful, and the rich sense of real people leading real lives, as Margaret Kennedy paints of her characters in three dimensions and gives each one his or her due within the story.
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