Mary Westmacott Quotes

Mary Westmacott Quotes
To the Memory of My Best and Truest Friend My Mother
Mary Westmacott's Dedication to Giant's Bread

The Mary Westmacott novels differ significantly from Christie's famous detective novels and allowed her to explore human psychology, a topic of great interest to her, from an alternative perspective. Though previously described as romance novels, her daughter Rosalind felt they were best described as "bitter-sweet stories about love". Whilst romance is a feature of several of these stories, it is the powerful and destructive side of love that is predominantly depicted through the characters' relationships with partners, siblings, children and parents.

Quotes on difficult love

When you were married, Celia reflected, you were somehow so tied up with your husband. Nobody considered you as a separate unity.
Unfinished Portrait
We stared at each other desolately - wondering each in our own way what had happened to the miracle in which we had been so confident.
The Rose and the Yew Tree
But when two people lived together, there was a tendency for one life to set the pattern.
A Daughter's A Daughter

In addition to exploring love in all its forms, Christie used these books as an opportunity to reflect on the self. This is particularly evident in Absent in the Spring, the book that Agatha had always wanted to write and that she said satisfied her completely.

Quotes on the self

I began to find out things - about myself. Things that I had never known before. Or rather things that I had known, but had never been willing to recognize.
Absent in the Spring
One must accept the fact that we have only one companion in this world, a companion who accompanies us from the cradle to the grave - our own self. Get on good terms with that companion - learn to live with yourself.
A Daughter's A Daughter
If you had nothing but yourself to think about what would you find out about yourself?
Absent in the Spring
Absent in the Spring Thumbnail
Cover artwork by Andrew Davidson featured on Absent in the Spring

It wasn't only the characters who showed a willing to self-introspect through these books, but Christie herself. Though she often used influences from her personal life in her detective novels such as Poirot's frequent seasickness and inspiring destinations she had visited around the world, it was through the Mary Westmacott novels that Christie really poured her heart onto the page. This is particularly observable in Unfinished Portrait which Max Mallowan, Agatha's second husband, said "In Celia we have more nearly than anywhere else a portrait of Agatha."

Quotes mirroring Christie's life

Above everything in the world Celia longed to travel.
Unfinished Portrait
Vernon was, perhaps, a lonely little boy, but he never knew it. Because, you see, he had Mr Green and Poodle, Squirrel and Tree to play with.
Giant's Bread
It's when you know what a thing's like that you won't risk it. An unknown risk - there's something rather alluring about that - something adventurous...
Unfinished Portrait

Whilst many of the themes explored throughout these books are quite challenging, Christie was still able to weave in her fantastic sense of humour with witty comments made by characters.

Comical quotes

'So he's dying is he?' I asked savagely. 'I'm delighted to hear it!'
The Rose and the Yew Tree
On the whole...I prefer [roses] to human beings. They don't last as long for one thing.
The Burden
'I suppose he is ugly.' She added thoughtfully, 'He's very attractive though.'
The Rose and the Yew Tree

And there are a lot of excellent, life-affirming moments that evoke uplifting and sentimental emotions, as well as poignant quotes that appear timeless.

Relatable quotes

It is a pleasure, do you not think, to converse? All human beings are interesting, and one lives such a short time on this earth! One should exchange ideas - experiences. There is not enough love on the earth, that is what I say.
Absent in the Spring
Grief doesn't last forever. Nothing lasts. There is only one true consoler and healer - time. Give time its chance.
Unfinished Portrait
I've had everything. Love and happiness with Patrick. A child. I've had all I wanted from life.
A Daughter's A Daughter

Have we intrigued you? Explore our Mary Westmacott Reading List to choose your next book.

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