I have three of Angela Thirkell's books to read over the next few days, and having never read her before I am greatly looking forward to them.
High Rising (1933) is the first of Angela
Thirkell's "brilliantly satirical English comedies set in the fictional
county of Barsetshire. Successful
lady novelist Laura Morland and her boisterous young son Tony set off
to spend Christmas at her country home in the sleepy surrounds of High
Rising. But Laura's wealthy friend and neighbour George Knox has taken
on a scheming secretary whose designs on marriage to her employer
threaten the delicate social fabric of the village. Can clever,
practical Laura rescue George from Miss Grey's clutches and, what's
more, help his daughter Miss Sibyl Knox to secure her longed-for
(1934) is "a sparkling 1930s English
romantic comedy, perfect for fans of Stella Gibbons, PG Wodehouse or EF
Benson: Pretty, impecunious Mary Preston, newly
arrived as a guest of her Aunt Agnes at the magnificent wooded estate of
Rushwater, falls head over heels for handsome playboy David Leslie.
Meanwhile, Agnes and her mother, the eccentric matriarch Lady Emily,
have hopes of a different, more suitable match for Mary. At the lavish
Rushwater dance party, her future happiness hangs in the balance . . ."
They both sound delightful, and fifty or so pages into the first one, I'm hooked!
Three Houses (1931) is not a novel but a memoir in which the author
recalls "the three houses in which she grew up and the
childhood memories their walls contain. Focusing first on ‘The Grange’,
where her grandfather, the celebrated Pre-Raphaelite painter Sir Edward
Burne-Jones, set the cultivated tone, Thirkell also reminisces over her
parents’ home in Kensington Square and the Burne-Jones seaside retreat,
where her cousin, Rudyard Kipling, lived across the green. Her
elaborate portraits of the three houses and the lives within provide an
invaluable insight into late Victorian life, while the personal
recollections of Thirkell’s famous grandfather reveal a loving family
man behind the renown. A tale of forbidden explorations, Punch and Judy shows, and adventures
in the garden, Three Houses is beautifully evocative of the innocent
quality of childhood. Providing a snapshot of history from the busy
literary centre of London to the English coast, these stunning memoirs
are both reminiscent of the golden days of youth and an interesting
vision of a writer and the early influences that informed her later work."