In the third sequel to The Darling Buds of May, Charley and Mariette decide to get baby Blenheim christened, leading to a wholesale christening of all seven of the Larkin children. Chaos abounds as the vicar, Mr Candy, is run ragged by the naughty twins, Zinnia and Petunia, and finds himself the object of desire for Pop's second eldest, Primrose. To top it all off, Pop buys a fairground on a whim, and Mlle Dupont arrives to discover that Pop is not a Lord, nor does he live in a mansion.
When Cedric Charlton, an unsuspecting tax inspector, arrives at the door of the Pop Larkin farm, he soon forgets the purpose of his visit: The fun-loving Ma and Pop Larkin distract him at every turn with strawberries, cream, alcohol, and their attractive young daughter, Mariette. Well known by the popular TV series starring David Jason and Catherine Zeta-Jones, The Darling Buds of May is the quintessential feel-good country romp.
A year has passed, and in this third novel of the Pop Larkin series, Pop Larkin is preparing to build the bungalow he promised Charley and Mariette upon their engagement. He buys a country home slated for demolition, intending to convert it for the two, but it is not long before a London couple persuade him to sell it. Pop, ever the trickster, sells it for an extortionate price, as the two social climbers know little about country life.
In the second novel in the Pop Larkin series, the Larkin family descends upon Brittany in France. Like fish out of water, they find that things don't quite turn out their way: The weather is less than ideal, the food is awful, and the hotel is in a bad state of repair. But things slowly improve as Pop manages to sweet-talk Mlle Dupont, Angela Snow and her sister, Iris; and Charley and Mariette celebrate their first wedding anniversary. A Breath of French Air is a delightful book full of nostalgia, fun, and frivolity.
In the final book of the series that began with The Darling Buds of May, the fun-loving Pop Larkin finds himself confined to a bed following a mild heart attack - caused by a little too much of what he fancied. Ma battles with the doctors as she attempts to find an adequate cure, but it turns out that a seductive nurse is all he needs. Pa's spirits truly recover themselves when he is forced to defend his home from the ministry's railway plans. This concludes the tales of H. E. Bates' Larkin family.
A brooding, suspenseful novel of sensuality and vengeance, set amid the fields and villages of 19th century England. Bella Ford, jilted by her unscrupulous lover, plans revenge that ends in a catastrophic act of violence. Narrated by the star of the 1995 Merchant Ivory Productions motion picture Feast of July, Embeth Davidtz.