Richmal Crompton

20 April 2017
350 pages


The quartet at the heart of this delightful novel are the four Gainsborough siblings: beautiful but vain Lorna, ultra-sensitive Adrian, nature-loving Laurence and thoughtful, strange little Jenifer.

We join them in 1900 – four happy children at the heart of a loving family, idolizing their strikingly beautiful mother, shrinking from their emotionally damaged Aunt Lena and ill-tempered governess, Miss Marchant. As their world widens on the journey to adulthood – through the advent of the motor car, the horrors of the First World War, the trials and tribulations of unrequited love and unfulfilled dreams – they must fight to keep that happiness. But with Lorna compelled to make everyone love her, Adrian’s artistic genius crippled by over-sensitivity to criticism, and Laurence so intent on success in business that he forgets to really live, will Jenifer’s clear-sighted pragmatism be enough to save them?

A beautiful exploration of love and family, Quartet has a vivid cast of characters worthy of Elizabeth Gaskell and paints a wonderful, affectionate portrait of childhood to rival Richmal Crompton’s Just William.

It is beautifully done, full of invention and sympathy.
Miss Crompton is a master-hand at child characterisation