Vanessa and her Sister by Priya Parmar – Book Review

Vanessa and her Sister by Priya Parmar – Book Review

Vanessa and her Sister by Priya Parmar

Vanessa and her Sister
Author – Priya Parmar
Publisher – Bloomsbury Pub
Pages – 368
Release Date – 30th December 2014
Format – ebook, paperback, hardcover, audio
Reviewer – Stacey
Contains Affiliate links

synopsis of a witch

London, 1905. The city is alight with change and the Stephen siblings are at the forefront. Vanessa, Virginia, Thoby and Adrian are leaving behind their childhood home and taking a house in the leafy heart of avant-garde Bloomsbury.

There they bring together a glittering circle of brilliant, artistic friends who will come to be known as the legendary ‘Bloomsbury Group’. At the centre of the charmed circle are the devoted, gifted sisters: Vanessa, the painter and Virginia, the writer. Each member of the group will go on to earn fame and success, but so far Vanessa Bell has never sold a painting.

Virginia Woolf’s book review has just been turned down by The Times. Lytton Strachey has not published anything. E. M. Forster has finished his first novel but does not like the title. Leonard Woolf is still a civil servant in Ceylon, and John Maynard Keynes is looking for a job. Together, this sparkling coterie of artists and intellectuals throw away convention and embrace the wild freedom of being young, single bohemians in London.

But the landscape shifts when Vanessa unexpectedly falls in love and her sister feels dangerously abandoned. Eerily possessive, charismatic, manipulative and brilliant, Virginia has always lived in the shelter of Vanessa’s constant attention and encouragement. Without it, she careens toward self-destruction and madness. As tragedy and betrayal threaten to destroy the family, Vanessa must choose whether to protect Virginia’s happiness or her own.

Review of a witch

The story is about Vanessa Bell and her younger sister Virginia Woolf.

We first meet the family in 1905, the Stephen sisters and their brothers Thoby and Adrian. The book is written in diary format from Vanessa’s point of view, and we get to see an insight into the famous, ‘Bloomsbury Group’ that the pair were members of.

As well as written diary entries we are treated to postcards, telegrams and letters which gives the historical fiction book, that is based loosely on real events, some authenticity.

You get to hear all about the relationship between the two sisters, which at times was fraught, mostly down to Virginia’s needy behaviour.

I’m going to go against what most people have said about the book. I found it hard work and it took me about a week to get past the first couple of chapters as I kept on losing interest in the plot.

The writing style and the descriptiveness of the time were wonderful, just as were the personalities of Vanessa and Virginia, but I just couldn’t get interested in the story.

This book wasn’t for me and took me a few months to finish which is unusual as I normally devour books from a couple of days to around a week.

If historical fiction and the life of Virginia Woolf are of interest to you then this book is definitely for you. I realised after reading this that I’m not particularly interested in either really, so I’m afraid this book wasn’t for me, which was a shame because it sounded and looked amazing.

Two star rating

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