“What ho, what ho!”
Welcome to Angela Thirkell’s fictional county of Barsetshire! I have had a lovely summer reading through her 28 books, wallowing in the dizzying details of the county and its inhabitants—so interesting and so confusing, just like real life.
As I wrote in a previous post, I approached this project with a little trepidation, fearing that her novels wouldn’t hold up as well as I remembered them, but I am happy to say that they do. (“Too, too gratifying!” as one of her characters would say.) They are richly observed, fascinating in their detail, with sympathetic characters—and sometimes not-so-sympathetic ones like the odious Geoffrey Harvey, whose equally odious sister Frances is in the Department of Efficiency and Purging charged with getting rid of Undesirables in the government. They are funny, often in a surprisingly savage way; sometimes sentimental; and while they are romantic, in a yearning for the Golden Past sort of way, they are not really, after the first one or two in the series, romances.
(Above: This is actress Thelma Todd, but she looks as if she could be Glamora Tudor, doesn’t she?) [Read more…]