All Passion Spent (1931) by Vita Sackville-West is the second book I've read for the Women Unbound Challenge .
The novel opens with six siblings all in their sixties, discussing the fate of their newly widowed mother. Lady Slane at 88 has lived what many women would consider a full life having been happily married to a viceroy of India and a prime minister, borne six children and is grandmother and great-grandmother to many. Her children discuss accomodating her in their homes at different intervals for the remainder of her life. However, Lady Slane surprises them all by moving to a small house in the country that she admired thirty years ago. Here, she recollects her lost youth, her lost ambition of becoming a painter and acquires an odd assortment of friends and companions. Among them is Mr.FitzGeorge, an eccentric millionaire who met her once in India more than fifty years ago and loved her from afar.
Though Lady Slane concludes that her life has been satisfactory, she finds passion in the freedom to choose and in the end she bestows this knowledge to one member of her family. Lady Slane was thoroughly likeable and admirable in her decision to stand up to her pompous children and finally live her own life. The book has a wonderful message about it never being too late to fulfill your dreams and to be true to yourself.
"If one is not to please onself in old age, when is one to please oneself?"
This is the second book I've read by Vita Sackville-West and between the two, though All Passion Spent is a touching novel, I preferred her other book No Signposts in the Sea.
Women Unbound Challenge: 2 down, 5 to go.