It’s a long way from ‘making peace’ to admiration, and, yet, there is much to admire about these early novels.
They are uncomfortable reading at times, however, for relationships are mainly dissatisfying and disappointing. (They are not exclusively unhappy, sometimes disorienting and thrilling, but still not lastingly and not quite happily.)
The dialogue is always entertaining (more so than one might guess from Murdoch’s reputation as a serious and philosophical writer) and sometimes more so than intended (when comments about women wearing trousers arise, for instance).
My favourite parts are the description of Mrs. Tinckham’s Shop (Under the Net) and Tim Burke’s jewellery shop (The Sandcastle). They are such detailed and delightfully and dynamically chaotic spaces, which also offer (each in its own way) the space a character requires to envision their lives taking a turn.