Summer Half (1937) by Angela Thirkell

Book Review by Hilary Temple ‘It seems to me highly improbable that any such school, masters, or boys could ever have existed.’ In writing this as a preliminary to Summer Half Thirkell had her tongue firmly in her cheek (a place it was quite used to occupying). Mother of three very bright sons, she had … Continue reading

Sylvester (1957) by Georgette Heyer

By Val Hewson I have been a fan of Georgette Heyer since a teacher recommended her, in an attempt to get the class in the mood for our Year 10 set book, Pride and Prejudice. She is an under-rated writer, whose work has long been scorned. Romance? Historical fiction? Comedy? Written by a woman and … Continue reading

The Toll-Gate (1955) by Georgette Heyer

Book Review by George S.: I’ve read reviews on the internet complaining that The Toll-Gate is not a proper ‘Regency Romance’ in the usual Georgette Heyer manner. It isn’t. It’s more of a comedy-thriller romp set in the past – and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The hero is Jack Staple, a huge man, a Captain … Continue reading

The Woman’s Journal, December 1927

Magazine Review by Jane V: Cover portrait – The Countess of Cromer, by Philip A. de Laszlo MVO Serials Life of Elizabeth Bowes Lyon, Duchess of York by Lady Cynthia Asquith This is a disorganised instalment of a much longer biography, illustrated by photos. It is rather oily in style.

The Brandons (1939) by Angela Thirkell

Book Review by Hilary Temple. Written in 1938, this represents the calm before the storm in Barsetshire (and elsewhere in the world). It is a good example of Thirkell’s masterly inactivity: very little happens and she describes it in beautiful detail and with humour. The opening scene at breakfast in the pleasant country house of … Continue reading

An Eye for a Tooth (1943) – Dornford Yates

Book review by George S: This is one of Dornford Yates’s Chandos series of thrillers. The cover of the first edition makes that very clear. It pictures a mediaeval-looking street (which does not correspond to any location in the novel) hung with signs advertising the previous thrillers in the series. It’s an odd cover – … Continue reading

To Beg I am Ashamed (1938) by Sheila Cousins

This book is subtitled The Autobiography of a London Prostitute, and was originally intended to be published by Routledge in 1938. The papers heard about it, and created a scandal. ‘A disgraceful Book: It Must Be Stopped’ was the Daily Mail headline. The police went round to the publishers and were persuasive enough to make … Continue reading

Sleeveless Errand (1929) by Norah C James

Book review by Sylvia D: For the Reading Groups Second World War session, I read Enduring Adventure by Norah C James (1896-1979), a novel about the impact of the Blitz on the owners and regulars at a central London pub. When I was researching James, I was intrigued to discover that her first novel had … Continue reading

The Compulsory Husband (1928), by John Glyder

By Janice Maskort and Val Hewson ‘John who?’ we said at Reading 1900-1950, where we think we know our popular 20th century writers. John Glyder came to notice via Mary who features in our sister project, Reading Sheffield. Mary, whose interview is here, kept a record of what she read between the ages of 15 … Continue reading