Related to: 'Excellent Women'

Virago

No Fond Return Of Love

Barbara Pym
Virago

Jane And Prudence

Barbara Pym

Over the years, as Barbara Pym replaced Nancy Mitford, Georgette Heyer, even Jane Austen, as my most loved author, I devoured all her books, but JANE AND PRUDENCE remains my favourite. Even an umpteenth reading this weekend was punctuated by gasps of joy, laughter and wonder that this lovely book should remain so fresh, funny and true to life' Jilly Cooper'The setting of this very funny novel, one of Barbara Pym's earliest, is an English village where Jane's husband is the newly appointed vicar, and where Prudence will pay Jane a visit and find herself courted by a fatuous young widower. Prudence, at twenty-nine, has achieved nothing in life but a dull research job in London and a string of dud affairs; Jane, now in her forties, was Prudence's tutor at Oxford. Jane cheerfully concedes that she is an incompetent housewife, but she hopes that the move to a rural parish may transform her into a Trollopean vicar's wife, as well as a crafty matchmaker. There are many comic complications here, as Jane learns that matchmaking has as many pitfalls as does housewifery' The New Yorker

Virago

A Glass Of Blessings

Barbara Pym

Wilmet Forsyth is well dressed, well looked after, suitably husbanded, good looking and fairly young - but very bored. Her husband Rodney, a handsome army major, is slightly balder and fatter than he once was. Wilmet would like to think she has changed rather less.Her interest wanders to the nearby Anglo-catholic church, where at last she can neglect her comfortable household in the more serious-minded company of three unmarried priests, and, of course, Piers Longridge, a man of an unfathomably different character altogether.

Virago

An Academic Question

Barbara Pym

A delightful comedy of manners with a touch of mystery, An Academic Question is prime Barbara Pym territory. In a provincial university town Caro Grimstone, a dissatisfied faculty wife, becomes the unwilling accomplice to her husband Alan's ambitions. When she volunteers as a reader to a blind, esteemed anthropologist, Alan seizes the opportunity to steal his papers - research that could both advance his reputation while refuting the findings of a respected colleague.

Virago

Less Than Angels

Barbara Pym

Less Than Angels follows the loves, works and hopes of a group of young anthropologists. Catherine Oliphant is a writer and lives with handsome anthropologist Tom Mallow. Their relationship runs into trouble when he begins a romance with student Deirdre Swann, so Catherine turns her attention to the reclusive anthropologist Alaric Lydgate, who has a fondness for wearing African masks. Added to this love triangle are the activities of Deirdre's fellow students and their attempts to win the competition for a research grant. The course of true love or academia never did run smooth.

Virago

Civil To Strangers

Barbara Pym
Virago

Crampton Hodnet

Barbara Pym

Formidable Miss Doggett fills her life by giving tea parties to young academics and acting as watchdog of the morals of North Oxford. Anthea, her great-niece, is in love with a dashing upper-class undergraduate with political ambitions. Of this, Miss Doggett thoroughly approves. Anthea's father, however, an Oxford don, is tired of his marriage and carrying on in the most unseemly fashion with his student Barbara Bird - they have been spotted together at the British Museum! Miss Doggett isn't aware, though, that under her very own roof the lodging curate has proposed to her paid companion Miss Morrow. She wouldn't approve of that at all.

Virago

Some Tame Gazelle

Barbara Pym

Barbara Pym

Barbara Pym (1913-80) was born in Shropshire and educated at St Hilda's College, Oxford. When in 1977 the TLS asked critics to name the most underrated authors of the past 75 years, only one was named twice (by Philip Larkin and Lord David Cecil): Barbara Pym. Her novels are characterised by what Anne Tyler has called 'the heartbreaking silliness of everyday life'.

Funny, poigniant, observant and truthful

Crampton Hodnet

Louis de Bernières, bestselling author of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, explains in an excerpted version of his fascinating introduction the unusual history of Crampton Hodnet by Barbara Pym. Crampton Hodnet was published on 2 August 2012.

Virago

Angel

Elizabeth Taylor

Fifteen-year-old Angelica Deverell knows she is different, that she is destined to become a feted author. Escaping the dreariness of her provincial life, she locks herself in her room, pouring all her romantic longings on to the page.After reading The Lady Irania, the publishers are certain it will be a success, in spite of - and perhaps because of - its overblown style. But they are curious as to who could have written such a book: 'Some old lady, romanticising behind lace-curtains' . . . 'Angelica Deverell is too good a name to be true . . . she might be an old man. It would be an amusing variation. You are expecting to meet Mary Anne Evans and in Walks George Eliot twirling his moustache.' So nothing can prepare them for the pale young woman who sits before them, with not a seed of irony or a grain of humour in her soul.

Virago

The Diary Of A Provincial Lady

E.M. Delafield
Virago

August Folly

Angela Thirkell

It's August in the Barsetshire village of Worsted, and Richard Tebben, just down from Oxford, is contemplating the gloomy prospect of a long summer in the parental home. But the numerous and impossibly glamorous Dean family - exquisite Rachel, her capable husband and six of their nine brilliant children - have come for the holidays, and their hostess Mrs Palmer plans to rope everyone into performing in her disastrous annual play. Surrounded by the irrepressible Deans, Richard and his sister Margaret cannot help but have their minds broadened, spirits raised and hearts smitten.

Robinson

Belinda Goes to Bath

M.C. Beaton
Virago

A Far Cry From Kensington

Muriel Spark
Virago

Blaming

Elizabeth Taylor

When Amy's husband dies on holiday in Istanbul, she is supported by the kindly but rather slovenly Martha, a young American novelist who lives in London. Upon their return to England, Amy is ungratefully reluctant to maintain their friendship, but the skeins of their existence seem inextricably linked as grief gives way to resilience and again to tragedy. Reversals of fortune and a compelling cast of characters, including Ernie, ex-sailor turned housekeeper, and Amy's wonderfully precocious granddaughters, add spice to a novel that delights even as it unveils the most uncomfortable human emotions.

Virago

A View Of The Harbour

Elizabeth Taylor
Virago

Valley Of The Dolls

Jacqueline Susann

With a cover design by founder of Biba, Barbara HulanickiValley of the Dolls took the world by storm when it was first published in 1966. Never had a book been so frank about sex, drugs and show business. It is often sited as the bestselling novel of all time.Dolls - red or black; capsules or tablets; washed down with vodka or swallowed straight. For Anne, Neely and Jennifer, it doesn't matter, as long as the pill bottle is within easy reach. These three beautiful women become best friends when they are young and in New York, struggling to make their names in the entertainment industry. Only when they reach the peak of their careers do they find there's nowhere left to go but down - to the Valley of the Dolls.

Yen Press

Kieli, Vol. 1: The Novel

Yukako Kabei

Kieli is a reclusive girl isolated by her ability to see ghosts. Her only friend is her 'roommate' Becca, the precocious spirit of a former student still residing in Kieli's dorm. Everything in Kieli's life changes suddenly when the girls meet the handsome but distant Harvey who, like Kieli, can see ghosts. He also turns out to be one of the legendary Undying, an immortal soldier bred for war now being hunted by the Church. When Kieli joins Harvey on a pilgrimage to lay to rest the spirit of a Corporal possessing an old radio, as unlikely as it seems, she feels she may have finally found a place where she belongs in the world. And in Kieli, Harvey may have found a reason to live again.

Laugh, cry and fall in love

Extract from The Valentine’s Card

The Valentine’s Card is the fabulous first novel from Juliet Ashton. Publishing just in time for Valentine’s Day, it is a heart-warming, heart-breaking tale of love, laughter, and starting over full of vivid characters, real emotions and events both epic and ordinary. If you are looking for something special to read this spring The Valentine’s Card is a MUST. Perfect for fans of Cecelia Ahern, you will laugh, you will cry and you will fall in love with this bright new voice in women’s fiction.