GRISELDA by Gwyneth Lambert
Griselda’s mother is disturbed when the half-brother of her late husband criticises the
choice they took in sending their Protestant daughter, known as Selly, to a
Selly discovers many difficulties in life as she exchanges the placid, honest
world of the gentle nuns for the harsh reality of the modern world in the late
In her early relationships with men Selly soon realises that her expectations
are far too high, and this is not helped by the revelation that her Uncle Jack
wishes to marry her mother, making the bond between them sorely tested.
With her own marriage to Ted, a much older widower, Selly finds there are many
strains. Ted is used to his own ways and has a fairly old-fashioned outlook on
life. She is left in a quandary: does she behave like her namesake in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, being a ‘humble, hardworking, dutiful maiden’, or will she become a woman with spirit, standing firm on her own grounds?
The birth of a son does not help the couple, with the rift between them becoming
greater and Ted’s dominance over her life more specific. And the circumstances surrounding the
sad loss of their child bring events to a climax.
Finally, Selly is given the opportunity to change the course of her future,
involving one of the first men with whom she had been attached. Her Catholic
education still impacts on her conscience, but she must make a decision which
will determine the rest of her life.
Born in 1917, the author was at first home educated and then became one of the
Protestant pupils attending the Catholic Convent School in Putney; she went on
to attend Wallington County School. Her working career started with the
Prudential Assurance Company involved in health work.
She joined the Women’s Land Army in 1942, returning to her work in Torquay after the end of World War
II in 1946. With the arrival of the new National Health Service she became a
civil servant in Wallington for a year before being sent to the Canning Town
office to help set up the new scheme. It was here she met her husband.
Throughout her life Gwyneth Lambert has always had a keen interest in writing
and this is now her fourth published novel following Town Girl, Round and Round
the Orchard and The Dinner Party.