All Passion Spent

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.


  1. I quite enjoyed this one, but not as much as Family History. I have yet to read No signposts in the sea...maybe this week! You're doing well with the challenge.

  2. I've yet to read Vita Sackville-West, and this is going on my list - immediately! Great cover, too.

  3. I really like this book. I think I may have read it twice. When I read it the first time I was on the London Underground on the same line, passing through the same stations, that Lady Slane does in the book. It was kind of a crazy coincidence.

  4. @verity- I still haven't read Family History but it's on my TBR.

    @JoAnn- I'm sure you'll enjoy this one.

    @Thomas - What a coincidence! I thought that scene was very well done in the book...Lady Slane riding the underground while reflecting on her different per stop.

  5. I have been meaning to read Vita Sackville-West for some time now, but I hadn't heard of this one, I don't think. It might not be the best to start with, but it sounds like something I'd want to read at some point. So thank you for bringing it to my attention!

  6. I enjoyed this book too and like Verity I also enjoyed Family History. I haven't gotten around to No Signpost in the Sea

  7. I'm planning to read any Vita book for the GLBT Challenge. Glad to know you like her--haven't read her myself. :)

    - Sasha
    Sasha & The Silverfish


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