One of the things that I regret most about neglecting this blog so much during 2012 is that I have failed dismally to participate in the Elizabeth Taylor Centenary readalongs organised by Laura. It would have been the perfect opportunity for me to reread (some for the third time) Elizabeth Taylor's novels which were initially read pre-blog and record my thoughts here. But it was mostly not to be.
However, I did agree to host the readalong for Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont which was my second encounter with the writer back in 2009 and what I felt at the time was a very memorable read. And I'm looking forward to re-reading it in the next couple of weeks. As I'm struggling to balance a few things at the moment and had doubts about the interest of what I could write about it, I've asked a two or three of my bloggy friends to read it, and I am hoping that I may be able to ask them some questions about what they thought about it.
If you haven't read it, then do pick up a copy if you can to join in. And here to tempt you is the first page:
"Mrs Palfrey first came to the Claremont hotel on a Sunday afternoon in January. Rain had closed in over London, and her taxi sloshed along the almost deserted Cromwell Road, past one cavernous porch after another, the driver going slowly and poking his head out into the wet, for the hotel was not known to him. This discovery that he did not know, had a little disconcerted Mrs Palfrey, for she did not know it either, and began to wonder what she was coming to. She tried to banish terror from her heart. She was alarmed at the threat of her own depression.
If it's not nice, I needn't stay, she promised herself, her lips slightly moving, as she leaned forward in the taxi, looking from side to side of the wide, frightening road, almost dreading to read the name Claremont over one of those porches. There were so many hotels, one after the other along this street, all looking much the same.
She had simply chanced on an advertisement in a Sunday newspaper while staying in Scotland with her daughter Elizabeth. Reduced winter rates. Excellent cuisine. We can take that with a pinch of salt, she had thought at the time.
At last the cab slowed down. "Claremont hotel" she read, as clear as could be in large letters...
We'll meet back here on November 15th to chat about it.