Saturday, June 10, 2017

Penrose Halson

Penrose Halson is the author of The Marriage Bureau: The True Story of How Two Matchmakers Arranged Love in Wartime London.

From her Q&A with Deborah Kalb:

Q: Of all the stories you tell in the book, is there one that's a particular favorite?

A: This is almost impossible to answer - I found them all totally engrossing (and there are many others, equally riveting, which could have been included only in a book twice as long!).

I still laugh when I re-read the funny ones, such as Miss Bud and her bust bodices (Chapter 11, Sex, Tragedy, Success and Bust Bodices) and feel a pang for Martha, who was raped (also Chapter 11). But if I have to choose one, it is the poignant story from Chapter 17, Loneliness and Heartbreak.

Archibald Bullin-Archer, from an upper-class family to whose standards of success he does not conform, is introduced by Dorothy Harbottle, a middle-aged, tender-hearted interviewer at the marriage bureau, to Ivy Bailey.

Miss Harbottle knows they are right for each other, although Ivy is only a shop assistant, of a lower class. Archie and Ivy, both modest, shy, sensitive, inexperienced, and crushingly lonely, do indeed rejoice in one another, and decide to marry. They...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue