April 12, 2020
Sacred Reads: The Slaves of Solitude, Patrick Hamilton
Patrick Hamilton's most famous novel is the wonderfully named Hangover Square but The Slaves of Solitude, which was written in 1947, has, as its might title suggest, a certain resonance with current events. The story takes place in the middle of World War II and, bombed out of her flat in Kensington, Miss Roach has taken refuge in a boarding house, The Rosamund Tea Rooms, in Thames Lockdon, which is just outside London but near enough for her to make the commute to the London publishing house where she works. There are some beautifully drawn characters such as the resident bully, Mr Thwaites and the manipulative Vicki Kugelmann, whom Miss Roach befriends, although she comes to regret this. However, life may be safer in the suburbs than London but it is also drab and relentingly dreary - cold and dark and the shops are steadily emptying. However, the addition of a charming American Lieutenant to the boarding house changes everything, but most significantly for Miss Roach, although not how one might think. Miss Roach, by the way, is very partial to a Gin and French - try a sipping a Sacred version with Sacred Gin and Sacred English Vermouth whilst savouring this wonderfully redemptive book.