Excerpt from Farthing by Jo Walton, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Farthing

by Jo Walton

Farthing by Jo Walton
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Aug 2006, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    Aug 2007, 320 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Chapter 1

"Then are you sure you didn’t marry me for the opposite reason?" David asked, ignoring the diversion. "Especially so you could use me to enjoy snubbing people like Lady Thirkie?"

"That’s absurd," I said, and turned back to the mirror, and this time I caught up my hair and the pearls all in one swirl and managed to get it just right where all my careful trying before had failed. I smiled at my reflection, and at David where he was standing behind me.

There was a certain grain of truth in what he said, but a very distant grain that wouldn’t be good for either of us or for our marriage if we spent time dwelling on it. Daddy had made me face all that on the night he’d agreed to the marriage going ahead. David had imagined that Daddy would make endless difficulties, but in fact he just gave me that one really hard talk and then buckled down and accepted David as one of the family. It was Mummy who made the difficulties, as I’d known it would be.

Daddy had called me into his office in London and told all the secretaries and everyone not to let anybody in. I’d felt simultaneously rather important, and as if I were ten years old and on the carpet for not doing my homework. I had to keep reminding myself I was the thoroughly grown-up and almost-on-the-shelf young lady I really was. I sat in the leather chair he keeps for visitors, clutching my purse on my knee, and he sat down behind his big eighteenth-century desk and just looked at me for a moment. He didn’t beat about the bush at all, no nonsense with drinks and cigarettes and getting comfortable. "I’m sure you know what I want to talk to you about, Luce," he started.

I nodded. "David," I said. "I love him, Daddy, and I want to marry him."

"David Kahn," Daddy had said, as if the words left a bad taste in his mouth.

I started to say something feeble in David’s defense, but Daddy held up a hand. "I already know what you’re going to say, so save your breath. He was born in England, he’s a war hero, his family are very wealthy. I could counter with the fact that he was educated on the Continent, he’s a Jew, and not one of us."

"I was just going to say we love each other," I said, with as much dignity as I could manage. Unlike Mummy, who could only make a nuisance of herself, Daddy really could have scuppered the whole thing at that point. Although I was twenty-three and, since Hugh died, heir to pretty much everything except Farthing and the title, I didn’t have any money of my own beyond what Daddy let me have, and neither did David. His family were wealthy enough, but he himself hardly had a bean, certainly not enough for the two of us to live on. His family, which surprised me at first though it made sense afterwards, didn’t approve of me one whit more than mine approved of him. So it could have been a real Romeo and Juliet affair if not for Daddy seeing sense and coming over to my side.

"Having seen you together and talked to young David, I don’t doubt that, funnily enough," Daddy said. "But what I want to know is whether that’s enough. Love’s a wonderful thing, but it can be a fragile flower when the winds blow cold against it, and I can see a lot of cold winds poised to howl down on the pair of you."

"Just so long as you’re not one of those winds, Daddy," I said, pressing my knees together and sitting up straight, to look as mature and sensible as I could.

Daddy laughed. "I’ve seen you sitting like that when you want to impress me since you were five years old," he said. Then he suddenly leaned forward and turned really serious. "Have you thought what it’s going to mean being Mrs. Kahn? We share a name that we didn’t do anything personally to earn but which we inherited from our Eversley ancestors, who did. It is a name that opens doors for us. You’re talking about giving that up to become Mrs. Kahn---"

Copyright © 2006 by Jo Walton

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Discover your next great read here

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Hillbilly Elegy
    Hillbilly Elegy
    by J.D. Vance
    In this illuminating memoir, Vance recounts his trajectory from growing up a "hillbilly" in ...
  • Book Jacket: The Dark Flood Rises
    The Dark Flood Rises
    by Margaret Drabble
    Margaret Drabble, the award-winning novelist and literary critic who is approaching eighty and ...
  • Book Jacket: All Our Wrong Todays
    All Our Wrong Todays
    by Elan Mastai
    You need a great deal of time to read All Our Wrong Todays, but don't let that put you off. ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Atomic Weight of Love
by Elizabeth J. Church

In the spirit of The Aviator's Wife, this resonant debut spans from World War II through the Vietnam War.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Lola
    by Melissa Scrivner Love

    An astonishing debut crime thriller about an unforgettable woman.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Our Short History
    by Lauren Grodstein

    Lauren Grodstein breaks your heart, then miraculously pieces it back together so it's stronger, than before.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

The only completely consistent people are the dead

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

O My D B

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
Modal popup -