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E. M. Delafield

Book Overview: 

When the role of ‘Lady Superintendent’ becomes available at the Commercial and Technical College for South West England, the calm and capable Pauline Marchrose is the successful applicant. This is good news for Sir Julian, the college director, who greatly admires her diligence and ability. Mark Easter, Sir Julian’s agent, feels admiration for her too, which rapidly becomes romantic attraction. But Mark already has a wife, albeit in name only. And Sir Julian’s wife, Lady Edna Rossiter, discovers that Pauline Marchrose is the same woman who jilted her cousin Clarence after he was paralysed in an accident. A manipulative,self-righteous and interfering woman, she has little interest in the truth of the story, and she uses her position and influence to start a whispering campaign against Pauline. In a small community this soon creates an atmosphere of suspicion and tension which threatens her whole future.

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Community Reviews

More like 4.5. Very, very good, and about how you can make a compelling narrative in which 'nothing happens': except, effectively, the creation of a toxic atmosphere of the unspoken does lead to action, even if it's only somebody leaving. Has one of the great self-righteous monster villains.

I loved it. Kudos to British Library Women Writer Series for bringing this back. Such a fresh and modern novel, cannot believe it was written 100 years ago.

Unwanted: Lady, Ignorant of Her Own Evil

Here, earlier in her writing career, E.M. Delafield, whose later, lighter PROVINCIAL LADY books delighted me, takes up an altogether more serious portrayal of another married woman at work in her own household. Delafield is a synonym for an author who is a wo

One of the most frustrating books I have ever listened to, but that is a compliment because of course the characters were meant to be annoying, precious, prejudiced, hypocritical and so on. Delafield was brilliant at showing human nature with good and bad sides. None of the characters were fully lik

Marriage, morality, and mischief

Tension is a story about self-righteousness and the catastrophic results of imposing someone’s debatable morality on others.

Edna, Lady Lassiter, was in a feelingless marriage with Sir Julian, a man ten years her senior whose take on life was to stay away from all pos

An interesting study of the tensions caused in a small community when one woman starts a whispering campaign against another.

When Miss Marchrose applies for a job at a technical college, she is unfortunate that Lady Edna Rossita, the wife of one of the directors, recognises her name as the woman who

I read it a few years ago when I was blessed with ILL, but as I recall it's a study of the tension created in a small community by rumours & backbiting. Interesting characters & a very satisfying conclusion.

This novel consists entirely of offensively unpleasant characters. One is hypocritical, another brusque and callous - both care little for the feelings of others, but one is at least honest about it. Sir Julian attempts to be detached from both sides but is snide and dismissive towards his wife and

E.M. Delafield's Tension had been sitting on my Kindle for well over a year before I decided to pick it up. It seems to be rather a neglected novel, but is quite highly praised nonetheless. I have enjoyed a couple of Delafield's standalone novels to date and, like many readers, very much enjoy her P

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