WITH A PUBLISHER'S NOTE
Frederick William Elwell 'The First Born' 1913
This autobiographical first novel follows the life of a young woman from 1915 when she has her first baby until early 1933 when it was published. Catherine's husband, invalided out of the army in 1917, buys a doctor's practice in an Oxfordshire village and here the young couple bring up their three children and are deeply involved in the life of the village. It is a surprisingly hard life, full of difficulties and disillusions, but a satisfying one nevertheless. Hostages to Fortune is a brave and unusual novel in its description of both the realities of parenthood and its attendant disappointments - there is no plot as such, and yet the reader becomes absorbed in a life which is in one sense faraway and in another, because this is a domestic novel par excellence, not very different from many such lives today.
To read more about Hostages to Fortune go to the Persephone Forum.
The endpaper is a 1933 and-printed linen designed by Edwin Parker for the Silver Studio.