Park Lane

Park Lane (Vintage) - Frances Osborne It is a real shame when a book that should based on its premise, be gripping and fascinating from page 1, takes nearly 200 pages to get going.Sadly, that's the case with Frances Osborne's "Park Lane," the story of two young women from contrasting worlds. Grace goes to work in a large house on London's Park Lane, serving as a housemaid, while telling her family that she is working in an office during the onset of WWI. She has ambitions in that direction and wants to better herself. Her brother, Michael, also comes to London to work as a law clerk.Beatrice is the daughter of the well-to-do family for whom Grace works. She is involved, along with her aunt, with a group of rather radical suffragettes.The thing that annoyed me about this book is that Beatrice always feels like such a dilettante to me. There is no real connection between her and whatever she gets involved with, whether it's suffrage, driving an ambulance or just about anything else. Because she's in a position of privilege, it seems to me that she uses it to dabble.Grace, on the other hand, comes from a poor family and is trying to elevate herself ... unsuccessfully.The book alternates perspective between the two young women and, to be honest, picks up a good deal in the last third of the book. Unfortunately, I would guess that many readers will abandon it before they reach that point.(Review based on uncorrected advance proof.)