Wednesday, the 11th of May, and time for Shelf Control once again! Shelf Control is a weekly feature hosted by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies, and celebrates the books waiting to be read on your TBR piles/mountains. To participate, all you do is pick a book from your TBR pile, and write a post about it–what its about, why you want to read it, when you got it, and such. If you participate, don’t forget to link back to Lisa’s page, and do also leave your links in the comments below as I’d love to check out your picks as well!

My pick today is a different offering from an author whose books I’ve previously enjoyed (a lot), E. M. Delafield, and the book is Consequences (1919). Edmée Elinor Monica Dashwood or E.M. Delafield was an English author best known for the humorous The Diary of a Provincial Lady (1930). Born in Sussex, she was the daughter of Count Henry Philip Ducarel de la Pasture and Elizabeth Lydia Rosabelle, herself a novelist and children’s writer as Mrs Henry de la Pasture. After her marriage Delafield spent two years in the Malay states with her husband, Col. Arthur Paul Dashwood, and then the two returned to England and began to live in Devon. These experiences provided the material for Provincial Lady. Delafield was a prolific writer, with her first work, Zella Sees Herself published in 1915, and wrote novels, short stories, and film scripts.

Consequences is an earlier work than her most famous Provincial Lady books and also very different in theme and tone from these. Here we meet Alex Clare, an awkward and sensitive young woman, who seems to get everything wrong. A young man offers to marry her, but she refuses, and then finds herself seen as a failure by society. She decides to join a convent, but this is not the end of her tragic story. Reflecting Delafield’s experiences in a convent for a year, after which she found fulfilment working as a VAD, this book raises the issue of the limited options available to women in the Victorian era–‘a scream of horror against Victorian values’. This book was reissued by Persephone in 2000, though what I have is an ebook version.

Having enjoyed some (not yet all) of Delafield’s Provincial Lady books, I wanted to explore more of her work and came across this one. What interested me especially was both the theme at the centre of the book, a very relevant one for its time, as well as the fact that it was so different from what I’ve read from Delafield so far.

Have you read this one? How did you like it? Have you read the Provincial Lady books? Looking forward to your thoughts!

Cover image and book description via Goodreads; author info via Wikipedia

Find a review of the book by Ali at Heavenali, who describes the book as ‘beautifully poignant’.

9 thoughts on “Shelf Control #184: Consequences by E.M. Delafield

    1. Glad to hear that; I saw from your review that she wasn’t very likeable, but in her position, constantly being seen as inadequate, I guess one will be bound to react.

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  1. Mostly what I know about Delafield is that Anthony Berkeley and she apparently dedicated books to each other! Not sure this one appeals, but I’m tempted by her The Messalina of the Suburbs, based on the true life Edith Thompson case.

    Liked by 1 person

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