Both novels are written from the vantage point of England in 1924.
My pick #1: The Hounds of Spring
Thompson’s novel is about events of 1914-1924. She writes from the perspective of having lived through most of that decade as a teenager, as does the younger Renner daughter in Thompson’s novel.
The Renners lose a son over France.
The Renner’s also lose money in the war; 1924 finds them living in a London flat, their country estate with its stables, tennis courts, and gardens sold to pay debts.
More significant than those visible losses are their emotional losses as each family member realizes no one else feels their grief as keenly as they do.
Thompson takes her readers into the Renners’ lives to feel how they experienced the war and its aftermath.
Like a phone call about the accidental death of a loved one, The Hounds of Spring simply stuns readers as its events stunned the Renners.
My pick #2: The Silver Spoon
By contast, The Silver Spoon is definitely a post-war story.
The bright young things of London society had their illusions thoroughly shattered by the guns and the gas, but in 1924 the Great War is history.
The Jazz Age young don’t want to remember the past. They’re holding on with both hands to their privileged status: rich, pampered, and most of all, alive.
Against this background, Galsworthy looks at a husband’s love for his wife and a father’s love for his daughter.
Both husband and father are bewildered by how different their loved one’s view of the world is from their own. Parents and spouses will be able to identify with those feelings.
Thompson and Galsworthy make readers feel they know each novelist’s characters so well, they’d recognize them in the grocery line.
My pick #3: Blue Window/Sorrell and Son
Both of these novels are fathoms below Thompson’s and Galsworthy’s work, but they are above the level of ordinary entertainment.
That wraps up our dip into the bestselling novels of 1926. On July 19, we’ll step back a decade to see more bestselling novels.
©2016 Linda Gorton Aragoni