Tagged with comedy

Skin-Deep (1927) by Naomi Royde-Smith

Book Review by George S: Naomi Royde-Smith is probably best-remembered for her career as a literary journalist, first on the Westminster Gazette (where she ran the celebrated competition pages) and later on Time and Tide, but she also wrote twenty-six novels. These gained respectful reviews, but were not hugely successful at the time, and have … Continue reading

Before Lunch, (1939) by Angela Thirkell

Book Review by Hilary Temple Written in 1938 and unclouded by any rumours of war, this novel is surprisingly filmic compared with Thirkell’s previous and subsequent Barsetshire titles. In the opening chapter we watch an irritable middle-aged man looking out of his bedroom window. We are not told who he is until a horse-drawn farm … Continue reading

Merlin Bay (1930) by Richmal Crompton

Merlin Bay (1930) by Richmal Crompton Book review by Frances S: I first came upon William Brown in a 1950s edition of William Carries On from the family bookcase and subsequently enjoyed various television adaptations and the Martin Jarvis Radio 4 readings. I knew very little about Richmal Crompton herself until Reading 1900-1950 invited us … Continue reading

Frost at Morning(1950) by Richmal Crompton.

Book Review by Mary P: This adult novel from an author now best known for her Just William children’s books was published in 1950. Children are the main concern of the story, which unfolds over a period of 23 years. The novel centres around an unnamed village, in what I imagine to be the Home … Continue reading

The History of Mr Polly (1910) by H G Wells

Book Review by Sylvia D: The last time the Reading Group considered books by H G Wells, I read Ann Veronica which, with the exception of the frustrating dénouement, I enjoyed. I was hoping Mr Polly would be equally entertaining, but was disappointed. We first meet Mr Polly when he is 37 and a half … 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

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