Review 1589: My Husband Simon

According to Simon Thomas’s Afterword for My Husband Simon, the publicity for it posed the heroine’s dilemma as wife vs. mistress. And that’s just typical, isn’t it? When the real choice was marriage vs. not just a writing career but the ability to be a good writer.

Simon’s Afterword discusses the class element of the novel, which comes out in nuances an American reader wouldn’t necessarily pick up on, at least not all of them. (For example, I didn’t get the distinction between Pardon? and Why? until I read the Afterword, although I understood there was something wrong with Pardon?)

Nevertheless, it’s clear from the beginning that Nevis Falconer, a young writer with one very good book out, and the man she chooses to marry, Simon Quinn, are singularly poorly suited. Nevis enjoys sophisticated, witty people who know about books and culture. Simon is actually proud of his ignorance and prefers the country and physical activity. The attraction is physical, and the two consummate it almost the day they meet. Then they immediately get married.

Four years later, there’s trouble in paradise. The couple alternates arguments with love making for a highly volatile relationship. But the worst thing is, Nevis hasn’t written anything good the whole time. And Simon and his family make insulting remarks about her career. He speaks of her doing nothing all day and is continually on at her about the state of the house.

This novel, published in 1931, takes a very serious look at the dilemma of working women of the time, especially those in the arts, a dilemma that still exists in many ways. Although I couldn’t really understand Nevis’s attraction to Simon—to me, he belittled her too much—the ways of sexual attraction are enigmatic.

Panter-Downes is a lovely writer, and I enjoyed this novel very much.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a free and fair review.

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9 thoughts on “Review 1589: My Husband Simon

  1. Helen December 14, 2020 / 1:31 pm

    This sounds like something I would enjoy too. I’ve only read one of Mollie Panter-Downes’ short story collections, Good Evening, Mrs Craven, but I would like to try more of her books.

    • whatmeread December 14, 2020 / 1:32 pm

      I liked both this and One Fine Day quite a bit.

  2. Jane December 15, 2020 / 12:44 pm

    I think I’d like this, I haven’t read any of her books yet so lots of good things in store!

  3. Izabel Brekilien December 17, 2020 / 2:29 am

    I think I would love it, thanks for sharing 🙂

  4. Simon T December 20, 2020 / 5:22 pm

    Really glad you liked this one!

  5. Liz Dexter December 22, 2020 / 1:53 am

    I have this one still to read so saving your review!

      • Liz Dexter October 18, 2021 / 12:26 pm

        I really enjoyed it, read it and forgot to tell you till I was looking for an old saved review!

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