Other Guinness Girl Emily Hourican Hachette, €16.99
titled A question of honor, Emily Hourican’s third novel about women in the Guinness era focuses on a cousin of the three sisters Aileen, Maureen, and Oonagh. Honor Guinness is not the social butterfly that her cousin. She does combine in the same series (and the cousins often appear briefly in various encounters in this third novel), but she’s not a party animal, no beautiful is also not skinny and immerses herself in a lot of philanthropy serving as second in command to her charitable mother.
While the novel focuses on Honor’s story, the clever addition of a fictional best friend, Doris Coates, gives us a broader lens to watch the story develop. While Doris identifies a lot as Londoner and runs the same group, she was raised in Devon and is of German-Jewish descent.
Early in the novel, Doris visits Germany with her mother and rumors of Hitler’s ominous plans for the Jewish community are felt there. The novel begins in 1930, with fascism rising in Germany and Italy, and Oswald Mosley’s thugs gaining ground in England as the Great Depression deepens. Poverty in the UK is common, especially in the cities. But these people (including Edward and Wallis Simpson) are simply too rich to touch it.
Along with that is Chips Channon, a wealthy and ambitious young player from Chicago who has left America behind and plans to become an important figure in London society and British politics. Honor never quite knew what he saw in her – perhaps it was just her family’s Southend seat in the Conservative Party. But they married in haste and repentance…you know the rest. (That’s not a spoiler, but history.)
From the outset, Hourican describes a marked oddity in their intimate lives. Honor fades, but it’s an age of snuff or silence. She doesn’t talk much, but Doris observes everything. And knowing exactly what Channon would do away from home, with both men and women.
Through a combination of meticulous research and the author’s imagination, we get behind the scenes of London high society, with a story different from other Guinness novels, simply because of Honor. distinctive. But the hunts and the balls are still here, along with the creeping, boiling ambition of her first husband. It’s a fascinating read that will hopefully lead to a sequel, which will be most welcome.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/books/book-reviews/emily-houricans-third-guinness-girls-novel-is-a-fresh-waltz-around-londons-high-society-41996909.html Emily Hourican’s third Guinness Girls novel is a refreshing waltz around London’s high society