The Beautiful Visit

Elizabeth Jane Howard

02 July 2015
432 pages


As the First World War takes hold, a young girl comes of age in a troubled London. Capturing the longing, excitement and poignant comedy of adolescence, The Beautiful Visit is the debut novel from the beloved author of the Cazalet Chronicles, Elizabeth Jane Howard.

'She helps us to do the necessary thing – open our eyes and our hearts' – Hilary Mantel, author of Wolf Hall

Life had been distinctly lacking in possibilities for this young girl – until The Visit. But, ever afterwards, just remembering the smell of the Lancings' house would enrapture her.

As she makes her way through life in the city, that memory will take her back – back to that very first day when Lucy and Gerald had picked her up from the station . . .

Beginning and ending with a visit to the same family, The Beautiful Visit is a novel full of love, loss, and marked by the ever-lasting effect of war.

Interesting and original . . . Howard has true imagination and a kind of sensuous power. She creates a wonderful atmosphere of uneasiness and oppression; she can also draw scenes with ironic brilliance: hers seems to me to be a remarkable talent.
Her talent seemed so effervescent, so unstoppable, that there was no predicting where it might take her