Alors que Laura Morland, romancière à succès, n'aspirait qu'à quelques semaines de repos loin de l'agitation londonienne, la voilà plongée au coeur des intrigues de la vie de campagne. Son cher ami, le riche George Knox, est la proie d'une sournoise secrétaire, déterminée à s'élever au-dessus de son rang en se faisant épouser. Laura saura-t-elle le tirer de ce mauvais pas ? Et par la même occasion aider la jeune et innocente miss Sibyl Knox à conclure le mariage dont elle rêve depuis toujours ?
Une délicieuse comédie de moeurs au coeur de la gentry anglaise.
« CHARMANT ET EXTRÊMEMENT AMUSANT ! » Alexander McCall Smith
Mary Preston, jolie jeune fille sans fortune, est invitée par sa tante Agnès à passer l'été dans sa splendide propriété familiale, au coeur de la campagne anglaise. À Rushwater House, la saison s'annonce pleine de surprises, de frivolités et d'insouciance. Mais le coeur de Mary sera mis à rude épreuve face au séduisant et séducteur David Leslie, l'artiste de la famille qui navigue entre Londres et Rushwater... Cependant, Agnès et sa mère, la sémillante Lady Emily, espèrent persuader la jeune femme de faire un tout autre mariage, bien plus convenable. Entre les balades au clair de lune dans les jardins resplendissants et le grand bal organisé à Rushwater, cet été comblera-t-il les espérances romantiques de Mary ? Publié pour la première fois en 1934, Le parfum des fraises sauvages est une éblouissante comédie romantique, dont les personnages sont aussi farfelus qu'extrêmement attachants.. « Là où Trollope vous tire un gloussement, Angela Thirkell vous provoque un fou rire. » Kirkus Review
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 . . .
It's August in the Barsetshire village of Worsted, and Richard Tebben, just down from Oxford, is contemplating the gloomy prospect of a long summer in the parental home. But the numerous and impossibly glamorous Dean family - exquisite Rachel, her capable husband and six of their nine brilliant children - have come for the holidays, and their hostess Mrs Palmer plans to rope everyone into performing in her disastrous annual play. Surrounded by the irrepressible Deans, Richard and his sister Margaret cannot help but have their minds broadened, spirits raised and hearts smitten.
To his parents' dismay, Colin Keith - out of the noble but misplaced sense of duty peculiar to high-minded young university graduates - chooses to quit his training for the Bar and take a teaching job at Southbridge School. Little does Colin imagine that he will count among his pupils the demon in human form known as Tony Morland; or that the master's ravishing, feather-brained daughter Rose will, with her flights of fancy and many admirers, spread chaos throughout school and village. Humorous, high-spirited and cleverly observed, Summer Half is a comic delight.
Lavinia Brandon is quite the loveliest widow in Barsetshire, blessed with beauty and grace, as well as two handsome grown-up children, Delia and Francis. So thinks their cousin Hilary Grant when he comes to stay and - like many before him - promptly falls for his fragrant hostess. Meanwhile, the Brandons' ill-tempered dowager aunt is stirring up controversy over her legacy, and Lavinia's attention is further occupied by the challenges of making a match between the vicar and gifted village helpmeet Miss Morris, and elegantly deterring her love-struck suitors. Angela Thirkell's 1930s comedy is bright, witty and winning.
Originally published in the 1930s and 1940s and never before collected, these stories by the incomparable Angela Thirkell relate merry scenes of a trip to the pantomime, escapades on ice, a Christmas Day gone awry, and an electrifying afternoon for Laura Morland and friends at Low Rising, not to mention the chatter of the arty set at a London private view. Charming, irreverent and full of mischievous humour, they offer the utmost entertainment in any season of the year.
Pomfret Towers, Barsetshire seat of the earls of Pomfret, was constructed, with great pomp and want of concern for creature comforts, in the once-fashionable style of Sir Gilbert Scott's St Pancras station. It makes a grand setting for a house party at which gamine Alice Barton and her brother Guy are honoured guests, mixing with the headstrong Rivers family, the tally-ho Wicklows and, most charming of all, Giles Foster, nephew and heir of the present Lord Pomfret. But whose hand will Mr Foster seek in marriage, and who will win Alice's tender heart? Angela Thirkell's classic 1930s comedy is lively, witty and deliciously diverting.
A portrait of middle-class England raising a wartime spirit. England is on the brink of war, but the people of rural Barsetshire are not downhearted. As the village rallies round to supply huge numbers of evacuated cockney children with rabbit stew, the locals are seen in their true colours.
As the war continues it brings its own set of trials to the the village of Northbridge. Eight officers of the Barsetshire Regiment have been billeted at the rectory, and Mrs Villars, the Rector's wife, is finding the attentions of Lieutenant Holden (who doesn't seem to mind that she is married to his host) quite exhausting. The middle-aged ladies and gentlemen who undertake roof-spotting from the church tower are more concerned with their own lives than with any possible parachutist raids. There is the love triangle of Mr Downing, his redoubtable hostess Miss Pemberton and the hospitable Mrs Turner at the Hollies. And, to add to Mrs Villar's woes, egocentric, imperious Mrs Spender, the Major's wife, is foisted on the rectory when she is bombed out of her London home. First published in 1941, Northbridge Rectory is a captivating comedy of an English village in the War years.
Jack Middleton likes to imagine himself a country squire. At weekends he retires to Laverings Estate with his wife, Catherine. He may be pompous, and they may seem ill-matched, but the couple are devoted to each other.When Jack's widowed sister, Lilian, and her two stepchildren arrive to spend the summer in the neighbouring house, he dreads the intrusion to his idyll: Daphne, capable and ambitious, is too lively for his taste, whereas her brother Denis, a composer, he finds a crashing bore. But their wit and good sense charm the residents of Barchester, and they win over Lord Bond with an impromptu Gilbert and Sullivan evening. Even Jack begins to thaw.Before long, Daphne and Lord Bond's son become attracted to each other, but each believes the other is attached to someone else. Can disaster be averted before she marries the wrong man? First published in 1939, Before Lunch is a sparkling comedy from Angela Thirkell's much-loved classic series.
Barsetshire in the war years. True to the theory that a positive change creates almost as much stress as a negative one, the outbreak of Peace is met with trepidation. The Government falls, Mr Adams contests Anne Fielding's father for MP, and bread is not delivered (somehow equivalent events). However the main action focuses on David Leslie who, at thirty-nine, is still meddling with the feelings of every available young woman until Rose Bingham, of suitable age and circumstances, 'sorts him out', object: Matrimony. Around the edges we encounter Mr Scratcherd the local 'artist' and his formidable niece who harangues him in non-stop paragraphs; the continuing feud with the Palace as the Bishop's request for a song in honour of 'our Wonderful Red Comrades' is countered by a hymn whose tune is that of the Russian Imperial National Anthem; and young George Halliday's infatuation with a totally oblivious, very middle-aged, Lady Graham.
Barsetshire in the war years. Growing Up is the story of ladies, gentlemen, and their irrepressible children keeping the war at bay in their country town. Trying to do their part as the Second World War ravages Europe, Sir Harry and Lady Waring open their estate to convalescing soldiers - bringing romance, drama, and subtle life lessons to the Warings' young niece and her friends.
Barsetshire in the war years. Miss Bunting, governess of choice to generations of Barsetshire aristocracy, has been coaxed out of retirement by Sir Robert and Lady Fielding to tutor their daughter Anne, delicate, sixteen years old, and totally lacking in confidence. When Anne makes friends with Heather Adams, the gauche daughter of a nouveau riche entrepreneur, her mother is appalled. Miss Bunting, however, shows an instinctive understanding of the younger generation - perhaps, having lost so many of her former pupils to the war, she is more sympathetic to their needs. She may be a part of the old social order, where everyone knows their place, but is wise enough to realise that the war has turned everything on its head and nothing will ever be the same again - even in rural Barsetshire. First published in 1945, Miss Bunting is a charming social comedy of village life during the Second World War.
Barsetshire in the latter years of the Second World War is a peaceful and gossipy place, but there has been one lively change. A girls' school, evacuated from London, has taken over Harefield Park. Miss Sparling seems to be the perfect headmistress: she dresses as a headmistress should and is an easy and erudite conversationalist. Her new neighbours like her and her pupils respect her, but there is something missing from her life; something which - though she never dreamt it when she arrived - perhaps Barsetshire can provide...
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.
As heard on BBC Radio 4's Book of the Week'There is always in our minds the hope that we may find again those golden unhastening days and wake up and dream'In this beautifully nostalgic memoir, eminent author Angela Thirkell recalls in rich detail the three houses in which she grew up. Focusing first on 'The Grange', where her grandfather, the celebrated painter Sir Edward Burne-Jones, set the cultivated tone, Thirkell also reminisces about her parents' home in Kensington Square and the Burne-Jones' seaside retreat, where Angela's cousin, Rudyard Kipling, lived across the green.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. From the busy literary centre of London to the English coast, this stunning memoir is both reminiscent of the golden days of youth and an interesting vision of a writer and the early influences that informed her later work.