By Angela Thirkell
The next in a hugely successful series of charming English comedies set in the fictional county of Barsetshire.
Barsetshire in the war years. Mr Marling, of Marling Hall, realises he will probably never be able to hold on to his wonderful old estate and pass it down to his children. The Second World War is bringing an end to so many things, but the Marlings carry on as best they can in the face of rationing and changed living conditions. Into their world erupt Geoffrey Harvey and his sister Frances, bombed out of their London home. Bohemian and sophisticated, they rent a local house and it is not long before they begin to have an effect on their neighbours. Geoffrey begins to court Lettice, the Marlings' older widowed daughter, but he finds he has rivals for her affections in her cousin David Lindsey and Captain Barclay. Observing everything and quietly keeping events on an even keel is the Marlings' old governess, Miss Bunting.
Angela Thirkell (1890-1961) was the eldest daughter of John William Mackail, a Scottish classical scholar and civil servant, and Margaret Burne-Jones. Her relatives included the pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Burne-Jones, Rudyard Kipling and Stanley Baldwin, and her grandfather was J. M. Barrie. She was educated in London and Paris, and began publishing articles and stories in the 1920s. In 1931 she brought out her first book, a memoir entitled Three Houses, and in 1933 her comic novel High Rising - set in the fictional county of Barsetshire, borrowed from Trollope - met with great success. She went on to write nearly thirty Barsetshire novels, as well as several further works of fiction and non-fiction. She was twice married and had four children.
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- Publication date:
17 Nov 2016
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You read her, laughing, and want to do your best to protect her characters from any reality but their own — New York Times
The novels are a delight, with touches of E. F. Benson, E. M. Delafield and P. G. Wodehouse — Christopher Fowler, Independent on Sunday
Charming, very funny indeed. Angela Thirkell is perhaps the most Pym-like of any twentieth-century author, after Pym herself — Alexander McCall Smith