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 Bricks and Mortar HELEN ASHTON
‘Helen Ashton has the power of writing about people as though she had known them all her life. One feels that one has lived next door to Martin Lovell ever since the day when he first set up house with Letty in chambers on the north side of Gray’s Inn Square’ wrote the TLS in 1932. Unusually, Bricks and Mortar is about the life of a London architect from the 1890s to the early 1930s; it is, as well, about a ‘very decent, simple, sweet-minded creature’ who realises that his marriage has been a mistake yet makes the best of things: because he has dignity, commonsense and kindness, and is ‘very much in love
The endpapers are taken from a 1930 block-printed linen furnishing fabric, ‘Welwyn Garden City’, designed by Doris Gregg for Footprints Ltd.
with his profession’, he has his own special brand of heroism.
Bricks and Mortar has been greatly enjoyed by Persephone readers, some of whom have become architectural tourists: ‘I visited Westminster Cathedral and looked at it with Martin Lovell’s eyes (pp82–3). I love the wonderful use of language and imagery (the arches are “like stables for the horses of the Apocalypse”).’ ‘The story of Martin and his marriage is affecting, and all the more appealing for Ashton’s irony and wit’ said The Times; ‘intelligent and serious, vividly evoking the period, in parts genuinely touching’ wrote the Victorian Society Journal.
 NO 49
312pp PERSEPHONE BOOKS ISBN 9781903155394

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