Posted by ambler1

The Headmistress (1944) by Angela Thirkell

Book Review by Hilary Temple Anyone who has read Thirkell’s early Barsetshire novels will probably remember with what horrified enthusiasm she throws herself into the portrayal of schoolboys. In Summer Half we have Tony Morland and his Southbridge School friends whose conversation is a distillation of Thirkell’s own three sons’ egotism, manipulativeness and essential lovability. … Continue reading

August Folly (1936) by Angela Thirkell

Book review by Hilary Temple. As the Penguin blurb to August Folly said (1949): ‘The village of Worsted is one of those English rural communities where life is as full of interest as it is devoid of sensation.’ Sensation in this instance must mean sensationalism, as feelings run high and in some cases irrationally. The … Continue reading

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

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

Miss Bunting (1945) by Angela Thirkell

(published by Hamish Hamilton) Book review by Hilary Temple. Jane Austen notoriously ‘didn’t mention the war’ in her novels according to some critics – though anyone reading Mansfield Park or Persuasion with any attention finds the international perspective is a given. Thirkell, writing similarly about ‘3 or 4 families in a country village’, uses WWII … Continue reading

Caroline Terrace (1955) by Warwick Deeping

Book review by Frances S. Warwick Deeping died in 1950. Caroline Terrace was published posthumously in 1955. Having known Deeping only by repute as a formerly popular but now unfashionable novelist, I didn’t know what to expect from Caroline Terrace, chosen at random from forty Deeping novels held in Sheffield City Libraries’ out of print … Continue reading

Cheerfulness Breaks In (1940) by Angela Thirkell

Book review by Hilary Temple. (Published by Hamish Hamilton) Cheerfulness Breaks In might seem an odd title for a novel dealing with the outbreak of WWII. Its origin can be found in any dictionary of quotations: in Boswell’s Life of Johnson Oliver Edwards says ‘I have tried too in my time to be a philosopher; … Continue reading