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Publisher's Summary

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.

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.

©1937 The Estate of Angela Thirkell (P)2015 Hachette Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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I Have Taught College English...

for twenty six years, and I have to say Thirkell captures every comical nuance of the teaching profession in this charming novel of the "accidental professor. " Goodbye Mr. Chips after a few shots of scotch.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Charming and light, just the way I like it

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, especially for light reading or going to sleep by

What was one of the most memorable moments of Summer Half?

The family interaction over the cleaning of the pond

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Way, way, way too fast! What was she in such a hurry about? A few of the characters spoke extra slowly but these were few and far between and way too slow. Pace is really important to my enjoyment of a book. I found the narrator irritating because of her speed. I had to pay extra attention just to maintain my understanding of the story which detracted from my enjoyment. I won't listen to this reader again.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No. It was easy to pick up whenever I needed to.

Any additional comments?

This is not heavy, engrossing material but it is entertaining and offers a look into another world, another time, hardly Jane Austen but a worthwhile read for me.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Guilty Pleasure!

Would you consider the audio edition of Summer Half to be better than the print version?

Yes, the reader was wonderful and does the different voices of kids and adults, schoolmasters and servants, clever people and fatheads, so well I laughed 3x as much as I would have reading it for myself

What other book might you compare Summer Half to and why?

Not quite Barbara Pym but definitely Anthony Trollope as Thirkell herself thought, given she named the area Barsetshire.

Which scene was your favorite?

The one where Rose, the spoiled brat, throws a tantrum upstairs, while her father and her fiancé are downstairs discussing the engagement and trying to be serious, ignoring her cheering and the moment when a bath sponge flies out the window

If you could rename Summer Half, what would you call it?

The novel I wished I'd read before I thought I was in love at 16

Any additional comments?

Wonderful reader! If only she'd do Barbara Pym (or Jane Austen for that matter).

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • LettyBIRD
  • 02-07-18

Some wonderful characters.

This is the fourth Angela Thirkell book I’ve read this week, and by quite a distance it’s my favourite. The characters are really well drawn, I particularly like the two school boys who treat the school & its masters as a sort of science experiment that they are conducting.

Over all I really enjoyed the book, but be warned; the social mores of the age are writ large across the book and these are very interesting if occasionally disconcerting. There are brief, but eye popping bits of casual racism which stopped me in my tracks. In the other Thirkell books I’ve read it’s usually been Jewish people (I’m Jewish) who got it in the neck, but what I’ve noticed is the characters will often say something that to modern readers is awful, but the way it’s said is as if it’s just a statement of fact, not a criticism. No more note worthy to the other characters than if they’d remarked on the weather.

The other elements of Thirkell’s books, like the way clever women either downplay their cleverness or are dismissed as not really clever, are fascinating and horrifying in equal measure. I hope that this was written with the author’s tongue firmly in her cheek.

I don’t think these moments should put you off reading an otherwise enjoyable book, to me it’s interesting to see how far society has come in 80 years. It’s a vision of Britain that I for one would not like to return to even if endless summers of tennis on the lawn & house parties sound wonderful.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful