Thalia by Frances Faviell, a pseudonym for the late author and painter Olivia Faviell Lucas, is her vintage historical literary coming of age/journey of self-discovery novel, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher Dean Street Press.
This was originally published in 1957 by Cassell, and this reprint edition contains a bonus newspaper story originally published in the London Evening Standard in 1957 and teased as a “guess if it’s fact or fiction” piece, The Unininvited Guest, set in India, which the author visited during her travels in the 1930s.
The story takes place in the 1930s, and stars a young London art student who travels to Brittany to act as the paid companion to a woman whose husband is stationed in India, and befriends the troubled teenaged daughter of the family as they both experience the pains of growing up in various ways, as well as assorted excursions in France.
Offered DRM-free worldwide, available at Amazon.
Free for a limited time, available DRM-free worldwide @ Amazon
You can also read more about the history of this book and its author over at one of the publisher’s tribute blogposts.
Recovering from an illness, Rachel, an 18-year-old art student at the Slade in London, is advised to spend a year in a warm climate. She agrees to go to France to act as companion to Cynthia, a delicate, temperamental woman whose husband is in India, and her two children, troubled 15-year-old Thalia and spoiled young Claude. Thalia quickly becomes devoted to Rachel, but their friendship is strained by Rachel’s romance with the son of a well-to-do Breton family.
Though it’s the awkward, emotional Thalia who lends the novel its title, it’s Rachel on whom the novel centers, poignantly telling the tale of her sad first love, her dawning awareness of the vagaries and dishonesties of social life, and the tragedy she is powerless to prevent.
Set in Brittany in the mid-1930s, with an excursion to the cafés and artists’ studios of Montparnasse, Thalia is a dramatic and poignant tale by the author of A Chelsea Concerto. It includes an afterword by the author’s son, John Parker, and other supplementary material.