I have really enjoyed reading Girl of Good Family (1935) by ‘Lucian Wainwright’, a pen-name of Rose Allatini. It was written nearly twenty years after her notorious banned novel Despised and Rejected, but returns to the war years described in that book. This novel is at least partly based on Allatini’s own life, but disguises characters and situations, and sometimes skates away from things better left unsaid.
The heroine, Sacha, is born in Vienna, to a Jewish family (the Montadores) whose roots are in Spain. This is very like the situation of Rose Allatini herself, also born in Vienna in 1890, but to a Jewish family whose nationality is Italian. A major theme of the book is Sasha’s sense of belonging both to Vienna and to England.
The first chapters show Sasha as a young girl in Vienna, attending the the arranged marriage of one of her female relatives to ‘the strange gentleman with the short legs and the long beard’, whom none of the intrigued young female guests consider any kind of a romantic figure. It is implied that some such arrangement will be her future, too. A few years later (in perhaps 1908) she is back for the Season in Vienna, and all her female relatives are matchmaking on her behalf.