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Publisher's Summary

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.

For those who have read and reread Austen, Trollope and Dickens, discovering a novel by Angela Thirkell is akin to finding gold in an abandoned mine. Long out of print, her novels are currently enjoying a minor renaissance.

©1940 Angela Thirkell; (P)2002 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Golden Voice Nadia May provides freshness and dimension to characters who could easily be clichés. Her lighthearted touch invites nostalgia for a kinder, gentler time." (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall

How Does a Body Get Into These Kinds of Scrapes?

Nadia May does a terrific job with this glorious little story, at its heart a humorous romance peppered with Austenesque comic characters and I agree with the writeup that there is a dash of Trollope. It is a fun book and requires little thought-- great for coming off those more demanding works such as Middlemarch or Rebecca. My favorite between book of all time is Northanger Abbey with The Enchanted April and Elizabeth's German Garden coming in for close seconds. LM Montgomery and LM Alcott books also provide the same release. Books which are so familiar that only a few lines brings an entire chapter to mind are restful.

The heroine (the youngest heroine) manages to make some really wrong assumptions about who is in love with whom and manages to say yes to the wrong man. The man who asked also belatedly realizes he had asked the wrong woman. How to untangle this mess? Well, Miss Jane Austen herself realized that she had said yes to the wrong man and had to gallop all the way to Bath to take back her yes so we lesser mortals can take comfort there are ways out of the most uncomfortable situations.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • cynthia
  • FORT WORTH, TX, United States
  • 12-29-09

An engaging comedy of manners

I enjoyed this book, but did not rate it 5 stars because I save that for books I cannot stop listening to. If you enjoy Jane Austin type stories this is probably a five star for you. If not, then a three star. The narrator was excellent, handling many characters and a lot of dialouge. Initially I found this a little hard to get into because 90% of the story seemed to be dialouge between the characters, which can be hard to follow until you learn who they all are. But once I had the characters straight, the story engaged me and I thoroughly enjoyed listening. This was a borderline 5 star book for me.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Will listen to more

If you could sum up Before Lunch in three words, what would they be?

witty, crowded, neoAusten

If you’ve listened to books by Angela Thirkell before, how does this one compare?

this is my first book of hers

Which character – as performed by Nadia May – was your favorite?

too many to pick one - a HUGE cast

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

an occasional chuckle

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • akaGracie
  • AUSTIN, TX, United States
  • 12-07-16

Angela Thirkell + Nadia May = Heaven

One of my favorite writers, read by one of my favorite readers! Angela Thirkell's work is always charming and soothing: one knows what to expect from her books. Especially in trying times, Ms Thirkell is a witty and intelligent source of comfort. Nadia May is a professional: her voice is clear, her reading is never over-the-top; she always sounds as if she knows and enjoys sharing the book she's reading. My only regret is that Ms May hasn't recorded every one of Ms Thirkell's Barsetshire books.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Like Jane Austen After A Few Drinks...

Absolutely charming! Absolutely funny! Absolutely marvelous! Thirkell has her own voice and style which make her books an great joy.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Noel Cowardish

Manners, misinterpretations, obliviousness and assumptions. A comedy of all the foregoing. I liked it.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

NOT comparable to Trollope despite book info

Pointless, meandering, banal. No character development and not very interesting. Read very well, but that wasn't enough to make me finish listening to this snooze fest. I rarely discard a book unfinished, but this is one of them.

3 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

So boring I couldn't finish it

I am very disappointed that this work turned out to be soooo boring that I had to stop listening. I enjoy discovering new authors and had great hopes for this, based on reviews. Apparently I need something to happen in a story. Apparently I can't tolerate tea followed by luncheon, followed by piano playing and a community meeting. Punctuated with moments looking at cows. Maybe it gets better and something actually happens but it was taking too long so I gave up. There are too many great books out there to spend time on this.

0 of 3 people found this review helpful