Ursula Holden is hard on the Irish, superstition, sentimentality and Dublin; but nice to the two sisters, Hope and Joanna, who are the heroines of String Horses….
Miss Holden is splendid, and I mean only respect, even adulation, when I say that I was at once reminded of Muriel Spark: terrible things happen, but they are recounted with such bubblings of wit, such charming eccentricities of detail, such greedy fascination for bizarreries that it is all like very good gossip. It is only when you finish her admirable novel that you become aware of how serious she really is, about dependence, of course, and about birth, and copulation, and death. (p. 422)
Neil Hepburn, "Prisoners" (© British Broadcasting Corp. 1976; reprinted by permission of Neil Hepburn), in The Listener, Vol. 95, No. 2451, April 1, 1976, pp. 421-22.