This delightful novel describes the post-war summer of 1946 - and follows the growing-up of three young women in the months between leaving school and taking up their scholarships at university. Una Vane, whose widowed mother runs a hairdressing salon in her front room ('Maison Vane Glory - Where Permanent Waves are Permanent'), goes bicycling with Ray, the boy who delivers the fish and milk. Hetty Fallowes struggles to become independent of her possessive, loving, tactless mother. And Lieselotte Klein, who had arrived in 1939 on a train from Hamburg, uncovers tragedy in the past and magic in the present.
Rooted in the north of England, THE FLIGHT OF THE MAIDENS is peopled with extraordinary characters, who are evoked with all the humour, compassion and eye for detail that mark Jane Gardam as one of Britain's most gifted and original novelists.
A formidably intelligent, gentle, comic genius ... In a hundred years she will be read as Mrs Gaskell is read - A. N. Wilson SPECTATOR
Gardam ... has written another jewel. This tale of the three young women is made with a concentrate of humour and compassion. Gardam is a brilliantly subtle comedian who can keep the reader enraptured until the last page - THE TIMES
Jane Gardam has captured the burgeoning renaissance of post-war Britain in her novel THE FLIGHT OF THE MAIDENS. Writing with her usual deft and sensitive touch... Gardam paints scenes like a watercolour and every stroke adds depth and subtlety. The characters are rounded and appealing and humour often bubbles beneath the surface. - Christina McLoughlin, AMAZON.CO.UK REVIEW
Gardam has a pleasant, accessible style well-suited to a reassuring tale of regeneration and optimism after adversity. - OBSERVER
As a celebration of the rites of passage it rings diamond true. It is light, witty, sharp, yet understanding and sympathetic. It is also thoroughly enjoyable - SCOTSMAN
Gardam blends memory and imagination, intellect and humour, to evoke unsentimentally a vanished England, setting it in the context of the wider world and capturing the bittersweet excitement of leaving childhood behind - DAILY TELEGRAPH
Jane Gardam, as ever, shapes her narrative with wit and aplomb ... intelligent, inspiriting and entertaining - INDEPENDENT