On Chesil Beach

Ranked #95 in Sex

A novel of remarkable depth and poignancy from one of the most acclaimed writers of our time.

It is July 1962. Florence is a talented musician who dreams of a career on the concert stage and of the perfect life she will create with Edward, an earnest young history student at University College of London, who unexpectedly wooed and won her heart. Newly married that morning, both virgins, Edward and Florence arrive at a hotel on the Dorset coast. At dinner in their rooms they struggle to suppress their worries about the wedding night to come. Edward, eager for rapture, frets over...

Reviews and Recommendations

We've comprehensively compiled reviews of On Chesil Beach from the world's leading experts.

Mona Simpson What I love in this book is not even the main plot, though I like that too. What I really love, the family that is so fascinating to me, is his [Edward’s] family. The mother goes crazy, and her husband and children all accommodate it and live around it. I love that little world in the novel. (Source)

Ella Berthoud This short novel is set in July 1962, when Edward Mayhew and Florence Ponting are just married. It’s about the first night of their marriage, on honeymoon in a Georgian hotel next to Chesil beach on the coast of Britain. The book describes their courtship and how they got to this point, then the crucial scene is what happens on their wedding night. Edward climaxes much too soon in his excitement, and somehow they don’t get over this. (Source)

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