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The Camomile Lawn

The Camomile Lawn begins with a family holiday in Cornwall during the last summer of peace before the Second World War and charts the family’s lives during the war years. When the family reunites for a funeral almost 50 years later they realise how much the war acted as a catalyst for their emotional liberation. The book's title refers to the fragrant camomile lawn of their aunt's cliff top home in Cornwall, the scent of which is remembered fondly by all.

Publishing date
RRP (paperback)
1st June 2006
Five cousins visit their aunt's house in Cornwall for their annual summer holiday. With WW2 looming, this is the last summer of youth, and the loss of innocence. Mary Wesley takes you from Aunt Helena's home on the Cornish cliffs to London during the blitz and on to the 1980's where Aunt Helena is travelling to her lover's funeral. A story of love, loss and grief is written with humour and warmth. 8/10
Review by Jo

A well written story of upper class cousins who meet up for a final holiday in Cornwall before the start of the Second World War. We follow their stories throughout the war and beyond. Life changes all of them and we particularly see wartime London from the point of view of the young women and how they survived in unexpected ways. Mary Wesley writes from her own experiences which are at times quite shocking to read. 8/10
Review by Liz

Entitled rich people breaking the rules. Sound familiar? The Camomile Lawn charts the progress of a group of cousins through the war years and afterwards.
Beautiful Calypso breezes through parties and soirees (as well as men) and actively enjoys the war years. Polly and Helena are liberated in their own ways.
I found the characters rather shallow and self obsessed and the undercurrents of child abuse and brutality jarred with me.

Some nice vignettes, falling over Richard's artifical leg, a startled cow in the living room...but not enough for me personally to seek out any more of her novels, although Mary Wesley's biography "Wild Mary" was certainly an eye-opener. 6/10
Review by Linda
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