Thank Heaven Fasting

Date of publication
Dedicated to Margaret Rhondda. My dear Margaret, You will probably requite this dedication with one of those charmingly grateful letters that you so well know how to write. Let me at once forestall you by saying that the gratitude is entirely on my side, and that this book is only a very small expression of it. Again and again, I have found that the sincerity and strength of your own work, both in Time and Tide and elsewhere, have set a standard for mine. I wish I could feel that I had attained to it. Apart from the fact of our friendship, that to me is so wholly delightful, you are the fitting person to receive the dedication of this book, for it has sprung out of many conversations that we have held together. Please accept it, with my gratitude and admiration. Elizabeth M. Delafield.
Published reviews
Cook, Marjorie Grant. ‘Thank Heaven Fasting’. The Times Literary Supplement, no. 1583, 2 June 1932, p. 406.; ‘Mr. Linklater Also Recommends’. The Listener, vol. 7, no. 181, 9 June 1932, p. 942; ’‘New Novels: Thank Heaven Fasting’. Saturday Review, June 1932, p. 565; ‘Note for the Novel-Reader: Fiction of the Month’. The Illustrated London News, vol. 181, no. 4863, 2 July 1932, p. 17; West, Rebecca. ‘The Need for Serenity in Novel Writing’. Daily Telegraph, no. 24037, 3 June 1932, p. 18.
Eighteen-year-old Monica Ingram, brought up very strictly by her mother to view making a good marriage as her sole aim in life, comes out into London society. Monica is pretty and is popular during her first season, but is taken in by the flirtatious Captain Christopher Lane. Her mother tells her to have nothing to do with him, but Monica disobeys. After a week-long romance involving exciting secret assignations, Monica naively believes they are in love, and agrees to ‘sit out’ with him in the roof garden at a ball, where he kisses her. Monica’s mother is appalled and dismayed at her behaviour, and does what she can to prevent the story getting out, but Monica’s reputation is sullied, she becomes less popular, and loses her attractiveness. In her early twenties, Monica meets handsome Carol Anderson at a wedding, and they become friendly, but it soon becomes clear that Carol only wants Monica as a confidante; he is in love with a married woman. Monica is friendly with two other young women, Frederica and Cecily Marlowe, who have been equally unsuccessful on the marriage market; Frederica claims to hate men, and is anxiously possessive of Cecily. Their mother, Lady Marlowe, is openly scathing about their marriage prospects. When Lady Marlowe and Frederica become ill, the young doctor who treats them advises Lady Marlowe that the sisters should be separated, for their own good, but she dismisses this advice. He later proposes marriage to Cecily, who accepts him but then breaks off the engagement after Frederica has an hysterical breakdown. Lady Marlowe arranges for an allowance to be paid to her daughters and sends them to live in the country. Monica’s father is run over by a cab, and subsequently dies. Her mother leans heavily on Monica for emotional support. Monica, realising that Carol Anderson will never marry her, accepts the proposal of an old family friend, Mr Pelham, partly to escape from the aimless existence she is leading with her mother. The novel closes with their marriage. It is possible to date the action as taking place between 1905-10, from references to the suffragette militancy.
Edwardian courtship mother-daughter relationships sexuality
Also published as A Good Man's Love in the USA