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 neighbor, George Knox, has taken on a scheming secretary whose designs on marriage to her employer threaten the delicate social fabric of the village.
"Beginning of a journey"
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.
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....
"Sense And Sensibility Meets Frazier!..."
In August Folly, the village of Worsted is staging Hippolytus. Inevitably, the most absurd romances bloom. Boorish young Richard Tebben, just down from Oxford, falls in love with Mrs. Dean, mother of nine, whose oldest son loves Richard's sister, who in turn loves another. And round and round it goes. Amidst a series of comic catastrophes, everyone manages to redeem themselves.
"A Donkey, a Bull, a Cat; Miss Austen Too"
This charming, witty historical novel is set in the summer of 1838, when the young Victoria, scarcely older than the tale's narrator Fanny Harcourt, assumes the throne of England. Happily, the festivities do little to distract Fanny and her close friend Emily from more familiar concerns: infatuations and romantic misunderstandings, the rigors of matchmaking and courtship, and the web of acquaintances that circumscribe any social scene.
"The Only Author..."
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.
"What a joy!"
Published in 1939, Before Lunch is a portrait of the charming English community of "Barsetshire." When the erection of a tea shop and garage threatens to spoil the bovine pastures of Pooker's Piece, Lady Bond and Lord Pomfret unite with the Middletons and the Stoners to stop it. In the meantime, the young and the not-so-young all fall in love - though not always with the right person - and sort out their affairs in a hilarious welter of cross-purposes.
"How Does a Body Get Into These Kinds of Scrapes?"
A captivating comic novel from Angela Thirkell's much-loved 1930s Barsetshire series: trainee barrister Colin Keith makes an ill-advised foray into teaching at Southbridge School. 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.
"I Have Taught College English..."
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.
Like Barbara Pym, E.F. Benson, and, mother of them all, Jane Austen, Angela Thirkell has created a small world of her own in the English countryside. Calf-love, village affairs, and literary effort are her nominal subjects, while people at their imperfect best are her real subjects.