When you find out that both your parents have read the above book, then you don’t quite know what you’re letting yourself in for.
And, indeed, I was pleasantly surprised. I expected it to be a 270-page-long story about the friendship between two men at Oxford. Oops. My mistake.
Charles Ryder and Sebastian Flyte are two friends at Oxford, and Charles spends time with Sebastian’s aristocratic family at their home, Brideshead. The story then moves on and encompasses love, marriage, religion and family politics. If this influenced some bits of Downton Abbey then I really wouldn’t be very surprised.
The story is also caught between the old world of the 1920s where the aristocrats were still the top dogs, and the 1940s when the war came along and unseated them, with the all-encompassing fury of war. The awkward sister of Sebastian becomes a quite mannish ambulance driver – shock, horror!
If I had the chance to read this book again, then I probably won’t. I didn’t adore it, but I didn’t hate it either.