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Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm (Cold Comfort Farm)

3.28 of 5 stars 3.28  ·  rating details  ·  326 ratings  ·  64 reviews
Available for the first time since its original publication more than fifty years ago, "Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm" is a charming collection whose hilarious title story features Christmas dinner with the Starkadders before Flora's arrival. With Adam playing Santa while draped in Mrs. Starkadders's shawls, the family shares their traditional "Christmas pudding"-a melang ...more
ebook, 320 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by Penguin Books (first published 1940)
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The one thing everyone seems to know of Stella Gibbons is that she wrote one book ' Cold Comfort Farm' and then she was destined to have it hang around her neck like the famous albatross for the rest of her less than stellar career. This may or may not be true, though I remember reading 'Here be dragons' and quite enjoying it, but it cannot be denied that for myself CCF is probably the only book of hers that i would return to. That was until I picked this up whilst Christmas shopping in Exeter. ...more

Rating clarification: 3.5 stars.

This is a lovely volume of short stories by the author of the classic comic novel Cold Comfort Farm. But be warned, they differ in style to that popular novel, all excepting the titular story, Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm, of course. Also the title of the collection as a whole is somewhat misleading, as only the fist two stories are Christmas themed.

These short stories won't be to everyone's taste as they are period pieces about the upper classes in England duri
I'm afraid that this book of short stories, rather than being as quirky and arch as the title story and the previous book it was based on, is actually rather painful and haunting. I find myself dreading my spinsterhood as example after example of "Smart Set" who settle are paraded after me. I don't know whether I should rejoice that they've successfully evaded the smug, cruel and immoral Smart Set or mourn that they've married into the slow, uninteresting or deeply flawed world of convention. Le ...more
I have been looking forward so much to reading these stories, although I approached it nervously as I had read some fairly luke warm reviews. If anything I was disappointed in the title story - it was too short I wanted more, the only other Christmassy story was charming though. Overall I so enjoyed these old fashioned stories, and it has made me want to read more Stella Gibbons. I of course read Cold Comfort farm years and years ago, and it is now time for a re-read I think. I also have Westwoo ...more
Oct 25, 2013 Wealhtheow rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Barbara Pym
Shelves: historical
A collection of short stories written and set pre-WWII. They are, perforce, very class conscious, with characters who behave as though they're in straitjackets made of conventionality. Some, like "The Little Christmas Tree" or "The Hoofer and the Lady," are quite sweet; people try to do the right thing and are gently, unobtrusively rewarded for it by making connections with other people who understand and appreciate them. Others are terrifyingly sad, like "Sisters," in which an older woman tries ...more
Reading Stella Gibbons is like taking a lovely warm bath - an inherently comforting experience. Obviously the plum in the pudding is her revisiting of the eponymous Cold Comfort Farm on Christmas Day a little before Flora Post makes their aquaintance. Here the Christmas "gifts" are to be given out - although with the gothic twist expected of the Stark household. Pity the recipient of the coffin nail in the pudding. Ada Doom, the matriarch of the clan, commands her descendants to - "Be Gay, Spaw ...more
A series of sophisicated and deliciously sly attacks on modernity. Although these are short stories, you become as involved with thecharacters as in a novel. The story I enoyed most: 'More than kind'; but my favourtiote quotes comes from 'The friend of man':

'She felt that if she had to spend another year of interesting, congenial work during the days, and sensitive, cultured, intelligent talk in the evenings, she would go mad or die.' (p. 211)

Like too many views, this one over Buckinghamshire co
Sarah Tipper
I bought this book to see if it would make a good Christmas gift for my mum and mum-in-law (previous books I’ve bought them have been described as a bit racy. I’m not sure if this was a criticism or a request for more of the same). I decided this isn’t a good Christmas book because most of the stories aren’t Christmas themed. They are still well written and entertaining though.
Because these stories were written around eighty-five years ago, and because they appeared in publications like The Lad
Adam Fitzroy
I received a copy of the 1943 edition of this book for Christmas from a very good friend, and I think it's fair to say that it isn't something I would have bought for myself. It's an anthology of short stories, only one of which takes place at Cold Comfort Farm, and to be perfectly frank the quality of them varies tremendously. Also, rather too many of them focus on the notion that a woman's only true calling in life is to be married and have children - a point of view which was surely out of da ...more
Elizabeth (Miss Eliza)
The Christmas pudding at Cold Comfort Farm will foretell the doom that is to happen in the coming year. Just pray you don't get the coffin nail. In sixteen stories staring everyone from the Starkadders to a young rich girl obsessed with a dancer, to a librarian who thinks she's in love with a writer who happens to be not what she thinks, to people with double standards who ruin the lives of others, Stella Gibbons's short stories are sweet but insightful and thankfully back in print. Fans of Cold ...more
I love the line "'The turkey gave out..."
I rather LIKE dated, period stories.

After a reading a couple of these, however, one has pretty much met the characters-- or character types-- that will appear in the next story one reads, and the next. These people are engaging enough, and the atmosphere is pleasant. The trick would be to read them with a nice long time-for-forgetting in between.

Ah, perhaps the title is a reader's clue: slip into a dressing gown, obtain a cup or tea (or a gin fizz) and read one of these tales every Christmas.
I got a copy of this short story anthology just to read it's title selection "Christmas At Cold Comfort Farm" set (pre Flora Poste) at Cold Comfort. It was hilarious--full of Gibbons' signature wit. This anthology is well worth seeking out just for this story.

Held separately, the other stories in this anthology are quite dated in their outlook, and problematic for the modern reader. Although there are glimpses of Saki-like humor scattered here-and-there, the problem comes in that every story imp
Philip Jackson
The title of this collection of short stories is a little misleading. It would be easy to suppose that these are stories entirely related to Gibbons' most famous creation, Cold Comfort Farm. However, only one story in the collection ticks this box, and only two of the stories have a Christmas setting. The other stories are generally themed around unassuming women who find true love and conventional happiness at the conclusion.
One of the stories, Cake, makes for uncomfortable reading to a modern
Mariano Hortal
Publicado en

La publicación hace algunos años de ”La hija de Robert Poste” fue un bombazo para la editorial Impedimenta, fue una de esas sorpresas que la gente recomendaba naturalmente, el boca a boca (o boca a oreja) sirvió para auparla y convertirla en un clásico de obligada visita, una diversión muy loca y metaficcional con las andanzas de un grupo de brutos ingleses que son visitados por la refinada Flora Poste y hace que cambien sus vidas; no en vano
I enjoyed this collection of short stories. Laced with wry authorial asides, and careful, subtle wit, Gibbons' stories allow us to glimpse the make-do climate of England in the 1930's. Though WWI is by no means belaboured the series of stories reveals its effects on women in their various spheres; the career woman, the domesticate, the housewife, the spinster.

The stories, if a little obvious at times, are interesting and compelling period pieces in their own right, and for my part, the collecti
Stella Gibbon's Cold Comfort Farm (CCF) is among my favorite books, so I had high hopes for this collection of short stories, finally available in the US and -- bonus! -- with an introduction by Alexander McCall Smith.

My first disappointment was that only one of the short stories in the collection was about CCF and, although it had a few funny lines, it wasn't anything special overall and didn't add anything new. (And, it didn't answer the burning questions: WHAT was nasty in the woodshed? and
I thoroughly enjoyed Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons. I love her book Cold Comfort Farm (and the movie based on it) so I had to check this out when I saw it on the library shelf.

One minor caution - there is only one story about the family from the Cold Comfort Farm, and it's one of the least impressive in the collection. Still, I forgive whoever named the book after that story because I would probably not have noticed the book otherwise. The collection was first published in 19
it was a bit weird to be reading this at the same time as Mary McCarthy's The Company she keeps. Although this is from a slightly earlier period in the 20c there were some similarities and aspects that invited comparison. I'm not really a short story fan, but at least Stella Gibbons' stories were short (unlike the novella length of McCarthy) and followed more the short story tradition. Some of the stories seemed as if they belonged to a well-written edition of People's Friend and I did start to ...more
A charming collection of short stories, only one about the nutty characters living at Cold Comfort Farm. Gibbons has a way with words that paints vibrant characters and amusing plots. First published in 1940 in Great Britain, Gibbons must have been a bold, modern woman who didn't skirt away from writing about sex but still seemed to hold very traditional values and showed their virtues. A few very fun, standout stories. Lots of good, old fashioned, unique romances.
Linda Munro
This was a book club selection, not one I would have chosen before or after having read it!

While the scene is supposedly rural Brithish life of the 1930's, I found references that made me wonder if it wasn't suppose to have been the 1940's.

While the plot was interesting, the British dialect was so well written, that by the time you figured out what was being said, your mind will be so confused, you need to take a rest from reading.

The most damaging aspect of the book was the illusion that yo
Such a great mix of stories, with both expected and unexpected resolutions, , I just love the way Stella Gibbons writes about human relationships both sweet and cynical. definitely reccomended
Dec 26, 2011 Libby is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Ignoring the fact that this would be much better entitled 'Christmas At Cold Comfort Farm AND OTHER STORIES', please, this is great. I've got just two stories left to read, and I'm saving them--that's how good this book is.
Stella Gibbons' writing is perfect. It has the familiarity of characters which reminds me very much of L.M. Montgomery's short stories. And there's some Roaring Twenties-ish happenings which feel a bit Fitzgerald-y. And then it's funny--not laugh out loud funny. Just quiet ob
Veronika Smolik
This collection of short stories was a bit disappointing after the brilliance of Cold Comfort Farm. Each one seems to fall ever so slightly short of saying something really important. It's not so much that the writing is sloppy or that the themes are dated (it appears some of our modern ideas have been modern for a while), it's more that the author seems to be reaching for something that is just beyond her skill to express. It makes the stories seem trite and often ring false. I enjoyed them but ...more
Kirsty Walker
I bought this specifically for my Christmas read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm is one of a group of lovely, cosy short stories, although a couple of them are surprisingly sharp and chilling. I especially liked, but was disturbed by, the one where the wife plans to leave her husband but it all goes horribly and humiliatingly wrong. Yikes. Fabulous book and although some of the stories feel a bit dated, it's all warm and cosy and I feel terribly sophisticated reading ...more
Linda K
Very good short stories, one of which is about the Cold Comfort Farm characters of her well known book of the same name. It is quite an art to be able to present the theme for a short story, introduce the characters and form them into people you want to know more about and then wrap the story up nicely. Stella Gibbons does just that and makes me want to read more of her work.

The people of Cold Comfort Farm are characters indeed and are presented deliciously. They make you glad that you do not li
I got this because I could not imagine how the Starkadders celebrated Christmas and wanted to find out. That story was really funny but some of the others were absolute gems which really stick in my mind. I would have given this 5 stars, but a few of the stories had a similar theme (a woman who was a fish out of water in one respect or another finding love unexpectedly) and while they were well written, they were too similar to really hold my interest.
I picked this up at Christmas time hoping for some comforting, heartwarming Christmas short stories. I enjoyed the compilation in its own right, but it was neither comforting nor heartwarming - and only the first two stories were at all Christmas related.

Definitely an interesting read if you are interested in a subjective account of a particular (upper class intellectual) set in post World War 1 England. But I wouldn't recommend it at Christmas time.
I read this book after reading & really enjoying Cold Comfort Farm. The book only contained the one short story about the Starkadder family, which as a enjoyable tale. The other stories whilst being pleasant enough were no where near the quality of Cold Comfort Farm.

If you like short stories or are a fan of a fan of Stella Gibbons for more than just Cold Comfort Farm, you may like these. Otherwise I probably wouldn't bother with this one.
Maureen Lovewell
Sort of like Danielle Steele. Once you read one story the rest are pretty much the same just changed names and locations. Short stories are not very happy. Didn't finish this book because it was just too depressing.
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Stella Dorothea Gibbons was an English novelist, journalist, poet and short-story writer.

Her first novel, Cold Comfort Farm, won the Femina Vie Heureuse Prize for 1933. A satire and parody of the pessimistic ruralism of Thomas Hardy, his followers and especially Precious Bain by Mary Webb -the "loam and lovechild" genre, as some called it, Cold Comfort Farm introduces a self-confident young woman,
More about Stella Gibbons...
Cold Comfort Farm Nightingale Wood Westwood Conference At Cold Comfort Farm Starlight

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