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Laughter on the Stairs (Merry Hall Trilogy #2)

4.38  ·  Rating Details  ·  247 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
In this, the second volume of the Merry Hall trilogy, Nichols is less concerned with his garden and more with his house, but the story does include the memorable characters Our Rose, the ditzy floral designer, and the cantankerous gardener Oldfield.
Hardcover, 260 pages
Published August 15th 1998 by Timber Press (first published January 1st 1953)
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Oct 28, 2015 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
Another delightful book by Beverly Nichols recounting the many funny stories of his life at Merry Hall. This is the second book in the series - Merry Hall focused mostly on the garden and Laughter on Stairs brings us to the renovation of the house. But my favorite moments are when the village ladies are visiting, gossiping, feuding etc - anything with Our Rose and Emily and new-to-the-village Erica Wyman - is very entertaining. Nichols has a dry wit and good eye for human frailty.
Jul 02, 2009 SarahC rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: lovers of English country settings, comedy, and quiet reads
I have read part of Nichols trilogy years ago and have never forgotten it. These are "gardening books" but they really are a sweet memoir to a time and place gone by. I had laughter in my heart after reading them.

Laughter on the Stairs is a wonderful book in Nichols' long list of writings. I loved it from start to finish. I enjoyed his casual but intelligent humor. I couldn't help feeling an attachment for a man who was passionate about his gardens, his home, his cats and more. I think about wri
Mary Ronan Drew
Aug 15, 2013 Mary Ronan Drew rated it really liked it
I read about Beverley Nichols in a blog post at Ciao Domenica, Books that Sparkle. Domenica lists some books that make her world a little brighter for her having read them and since I had read all but two of the books on the list and liked them very much (The Code of the Woosters, Gaudy Night, A Room with a View, Excellent Women) I decided I needed to look into William Boyd's Any Human Heart and something by Nichols.

During his lifetime (1898-1983), Nichols wrote some 60 books and plays -- novels
Apr 11, 2015 Knitme23 rated it liked it
The second of the Merry Hall series, Laughter on the Stairs has a bit more narrative flow than the first volume, the eponymous "Merry Hall," (whew--look at those vocabulary chops! Eponymous. . . step back!) but it still possesses the scatterbrained, amiable "I'm just telling you a few fun stories" approach that makes these books perfect reading material for a busy, cold, stressful April. I could read it a bit, put it down, pick it up again to distract myself from school thoughts, chuckle a bit, ...more
May 09, 2015 Julie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: british, gardening
This is the second book in Nichols' Merry Hall trilogy. While the first book focuses largely on the garden, "Laughter on the Stairs" focuses on the renovation of the Georgian home Nichols purchased not long after the end of the war. Money is not plentiful and there is still rationing, but he is determined to undo the damage of the previous owner. However the book is about more than removing hideous wallpaper and building a collection of furniture around four chairs he inherited; the book also te ...more
Nov 01, 2015 Linda rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
The sequel to Merry Hall, Laughter on the Stairs was equally enjoyable. Reading Nichols' books makes me long for a return to the lovely gardens in the Cotswolds where we lingered many years ago.

"Why did you have to have Five at all" you may ask. 'Surely One and Four were enough." The reason was really psychological...."How old is One?" she asked. "One is six. And Four is five." "It sounds like some frightful conundrum," she said. "But it all adds up to middle age" (168).

"A few paeonie
May 24, 2014 Susan rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, charm
Nichols is gradually restoring and furnishing Merry Hall, the Georgian house which he bought after previous owners had insensitively added unpleasant frills to it. He's also still preoccupied with the garden--Nichols is primarily a gardening writer. The local characters come in for some attention, too, whether the gardener or the neighbors (and in those just post-World War II days, those lines were strictly drawn). But you don't need to have any interest in these things to find the book charming ...more
Anna Sims
Aug 01, 2014 Anna Sims rated it it was amazing
I used to feel that P.G. Wodehouse was at the front of the class for dry British humor... but now, I think that Beverley Nichols' might have stolen his seat while I wasn't looking. He writes about his garden, his home, his patch of England as though he's examining each detail through a magnifying glass. This sounds like it would be tedious, but he is so charming that instead you want each chapter to go on forever.

Nichols is also a master of quietly weaving in references to his favorite painters,
Jun 30, 2014 Jessica rated it it was amazing
This was a delightful read for anyone who:
1) likes light British humor (Jeeves & Wooster type)
2) likes old British manor houses
3) enjoys gardening and horticulture
4) doesn't mind a few descriptive passages
5) is my dad. I kept thinking of my dad through the whole book and hope I can get a hold of a copy for him!

It's a delightful true narrative (not really a story, although there's a loose plot meandering throughout) of the author, Beverly Nichols, who buys and attempts to refurbish an old man
Nov 11, 2011 Anne rated it really liked it
English author, gardener and raconteur, Beverley Nichols', second volume in his 'Merry Hall' trilogy continues the story of the renovation of his country house and garden, concentrating on the house in this outing. Eccentric neighbors and friends and loyal but quirky household staff return. In one story, the author and his friends fill a dry well by hand by lugging water from a nearby stream all night in order to ensure the sale of a cottage for their shy neighbor Miss Mint of Bide-a-Wee Cottage ...more
Feb 01, 2015 Jeanne rated it it was amazing
i spent a delightful afternoon reading this book. its my second beverly nichols book from last mid century england and it just a wonderful book about his home merry hall and the cast of characters that populated his world...will get the next book if available at the library
Beth L.
May 27, 2015 Beth L. rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this book after I got used to his style of writing. The book was written in the 1950s I believe and so the writing is a bit stilted here and there. But once I got past that it was all good. I do enjoy reading about gardens and restoring houses both of which are included in this book.
Henri Moreaux
Laughter On The Stairs is the second book in the Merry Hall autobiographical trilogy. Written in post war England it chronicles the authors renovations of Merry Hall and village life.

I picked this 1953 first edition up without originally realising it was part of a trilogy and as such have not read the first Merry Hall book. Nonetheless, even alone this book is an enjoyable read and an interesting glimpse into what many people may consider an eccentric life.

Topics covered include a terrible stain
Apr 30, 2009 Carlie rated it it was amazing
Nichols is brilliant again. That's the long and short of this book. If you like to garden, have a shy crush on the whole nation of Great Britain and enjoy laughing, then read this series...and I expect (although I have yet to get that far) anything else the man wrote. He's hilarious, he's erudite, he's eminently read-able,and he's genuinely edifying in the process. I can't figure out how a bachelor who claims to not be a rich man managed to buy and then outfit a mansion of the proportion he desc ...more
Jean Fritschie
Feb 15, 2014 Jean Fritschie rated it it was amazing
What a surprising ending! Loved the story and the characters. It was so much fun to read. Can't wait to read another of his books
Jan 26, 2016 Leaflet rated it really liked it
Nichols is at his best when he gets out of the house and into the garden. I adore Oldfield the gardener.
Susan Z.
Dec 03, 2015 Susan Z. rated it really liked it
Funny characters. Interesting story of restoring a large English house.
Jun 26, 2014 Heather rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013
I continue to love Nichols' conversational tone and his whimsey. He can make the most mundane of circumstances into something entertaining and magical. I love the small village politics and the addition of new character Miss Mint. I believe that I might adopt her habit of beginning each letter (email in my case) with NWH (Nothing Wrong Here), which is a signal to the recipient that you aren't writing because something terrible has happened.
Jan 03, 2009 Ann rated it really liked it
This is the 2nd in the trilogy about his home and gardens. It deals most with inside but all the old friends appear. The ending is fabulous. Written in the 50s but truths are truths and characters are characters and good writing trumps all.
Mar 13, 2012 Jane rated it really liked it
Like his contemporary, P.G. Wodehouse, Nichols rattled out book after charming book. For someone who wrote so much about gardening, decor and leisure time, he was a real worker bee.
Aug 24, 2010 Linda rated it it was amazing
An extremely humorous true story of the author and his Georgian mansion in 1950's England. I almost fell out of my chair laughing a few times. Very Noel Coward-like.
Sep 18, 2015 Jodi rated it liked it
Not quite as good as the first in the series, but still charming, funny, funny and very British "twee".
Aug 31, 2014 Leslie rated it really liked it
So charming, so funny.
Vicki Morris
Jun 15, 2016 Vicki Morris is currently reading it
Love this book!
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John Beverley Nichols was an author, playwright, journalist, composer, and public speaker.
More about Beverley Nichols...

Other Books in the Series

Merry Hall Trilogy (3 books)
  • Merry Hall
  • Sunlight on the Lawn

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