First Chapter First Paragraph: the Battle for Christabel

eca8f-fistchapEvery Tuesday Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea hosts First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros to share the first paragraph sometimes two, of a book that she’s reading or is planning to read soon.

This week’s opening is from The Battle for Christabel by Margaret Forster.

book cover of The Battle for Christabel

It begins:

Today I lost the battle for Christabel. I lost the whole war (this is a war story, make no mistake). There is nothing to salvage from it, no medals, no trophies, but my God the scars, the wounds, the shell shock … If I were a man, and had this  been a man’s war, I would have been invalided out, flown from the war zone, heavily sedated, and when the plane had landed and I was put into the ambulance waiting on the tarmac, people would have wept at the pity of it and the waste of a fine young man’s life.

From the Guardian:

Forster has the essential capacity to see everyone’s point of view, whether it is the social workers who resent the upper-middle class assumptions of Christobel’s grandmother, Isobel’s lover who believes she should adopt the child, or Christabel’s foster-mother Betty … in that territory of dread and reconciliation which is the family, Forster reigns supreme.

Margaret Forster wrote 25 novels and 14 biographies, about social history, memoir, and journalism. I’ve read and enjoyed quite a few of them – they’re often about family life and  women and their role in society. This one looks quite challenging, I think.

What do you think – would you read on?

6 thoughts on “First Chapter First Paragraph: the Battle for Christabel

  1. I’ve never read anything by Margaret Forster and I know I should. I have ‘Lady’s Maid’ on my tbr mountain so perhaps I’ll get that out to add to the er… ‘pile’ for 2018.


  2. This certainly sounds intriguing, Margaret. The premise is interesting, and I do like the writing style of the bit you shared. I’ll be keen to know what you thought of it when you’ve finished it.


  3. I would read on although I was put off Margaret Forster by the only one of hers that I’ve read so far – Diary of an Ordinary Woman which turned out to be a fictional diary so neither one thing or another. I think you disliked it too.


    • I remember Diary of an Ordinary Woman and how I was so disappointed when I realised it was a fictional diary. Although it was clear from the front cover that it is a novel I hadn’t noticed that and it was only quite a way on in the book that I began to wonder if this woman could possibly be real and have been involved in so many of the great social upheavals and dramas of the times!

      But I still enjoyed it and all the other books by Margaret Forster that I’ve read.another one of hers I loved is Keeping the World Away about Gwen John and her painting ‘The Corner of the Artist’s Room in Paris’, as over the years it passed from one woman to another.


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