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Cluny Brown

3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  585 Ratings  ·  104 Reviews
Working class young woman in 1938 is sent to work at a Devon manor by her despairing uncle.
Paperback, 276 pages
Published March 28th 1982 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 1944)
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Oct 13, 2015 Jane rated it it was amazing
I have been utterly charmed by Cluny Brown.

She’s a girl who never does anything that’s exactly wrong; but she’s also a girl who never really does anything that is usual or expected.

She simply followed her heart; oblivious to the strictures that hold most people back.

One day she took herself out to tea at the Ritz; another day she stayed in bed, eating oranges, because she read in a magazine that it would give her vitality.

To many Cluny was a breath of fresh air; but to her Uncle Arn she was a wo
Apr 14, 2013 Mo rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Recommended
I checked this book out of the library, blew the dust off of the book jacket, and opened it to the cover page. I smiled to read the notice from the library that ”A fine of two cents a day will be charged on each book which is not returned according to the rules of the library.” It set the mood for the nostalgia and innocence that was to come.

I was charmed within the first few pages of this novel, and the smile pretty much stayed on my face the whole time I was reading it. I enjoyed the wide-eye
I am so disappointed.

A friend of mine read this and said that she didn't agree with the ending, I figured that it was probably just something like what happened in Stormswift, and gave it a go anyway.

I was really enjoying Cluny Brown, she's amusing and likable. The story had her bungling her way through service as a parlour maid to the Carmels and helping the town chemist who hasn't much happiness to see the sun again.

Then we have the side story of Betty Cream, a woman who turns every man's hea
Oct 13, 2015 Mary rated it it was amazing
What a wonderful book!
For the past few days I've been in the world of Cluny Brown.
Cluny, who's real name is Clover goes into service in a house in Devon.
A far cry from London where she has been brought up by her Uncle.
I was soon engrossed in the story and wanted to know what was going to happen to Cluny.
The ending was totally unexpected and I didn't see it coming.
Very well written with wonderful characters.
A dog called Roderick , a Polish professor, Betty Cream , Mr Porritt, Mr Ames, Mr Wilson.
Arpita (BagfullofBooks)

The Charming and Unusual Story of Cluny Brown

'Cluny Brown' by Margery Sharp was just as quirky, just as delightful and just as thoughtful as Sharp's other books. The book leads us through the life of an unusual girl who prefers to tread down the unconventional path in life.

In the story we are introduced to an orphaned young lady called Cluny Brown. She's quite an interesting character, memorable, like Sharp's other protagonists.

But she has one serious fault- she doesn't seem to know her 'place'
Bree (AnotherLookBook)
A novel about a young woman in WWII-era Britain who is deemed not to know her place in life, so her uncle/guardian sends her off to be a housemaid at a country estate.

Full review at Another Look Book

Reminded me of:
- “Downton Abbey”; “Upstairs/Downstairs”
- D. E. Stevenson (The Blue Sapphire)
- Vita Sackville-West (The Heir; All Passion Spent; The Edwardians)
- Phillip Rock (The Passing Bells)
Jan 07, 2008 Lynn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very cute and funny story about an eccentric, strangely attractive young woman who gets herself in wacky situations. Books like this just make me so happy to be alive and able to read.
Feb 04, 2015 Daniela rated it liked it
3 1/2 stars

Mr. Porrit, a satisfied plumber in his late 40ies, has only one worry - that his niece Cluny Brown doesn't know her place in life. She even went to have tea at the Ritz once! And although she is not pretty, she gets picked up by the most random men on the street. After an especially unfortunate event involving an artist and a bathtub, Mr. Porrit has had enough - Cluny is to go into service.

Quickly, a mansion in Devon wanting a housemaid is found and Cluny is set on a train and dispat
Siobhan Burns
Sep 19, 2012 Siobhan Burns rated it really liked it
So dated, and so so charming. Has a touch of Wodehouse, but not as silly, and a touch of Jo March, but much frothier. Things that seems quite obvious to her are dumbfounding to others, and vice versa, but you easily come to agree with her way of thinking. A lovely coming of age story of a young woman with a rather unique charm.
Apr 07, 2012 Elisabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars. I've had my eye out for a copy of Cluny Brown ever since I read Agatha Christie's Autobiography, in which she spoke fondly of it while discussing books. This involved a wait of several years, until eventually it was re-released as an ebook, and then a few more months of being on the library holds list until I finally got to borrow it. After all that, it's a good thing I enjoyed it! Margery Sharp's writing is witty and charming and a real pleasure to read, and Cluny herself is a real C ...more
Helena Rae
Feb 21, 2017 Helena Rae rated it really liked it
Shelves: 1900-1960
“How shocking. Shocking Cluny Brown! I’d like to meet her.”

What a charming, endearing, humorous and completely confounding book. Set in 1938, it's an 'Upstairs, Downstairs' kind of story, full of likeable characters and witty dialogue. Cluny Brown is a young orphaned lady who ‘doesn’t know her place’ and is sent away from London into service at a large Devonshire estate, Friars Carmel.

Without an ounce of cynicism, Cluny questions society's expectations for her life. Not such a big thing in 2017,
Dec 24, 2015 Sylvester rated it it was ok
Reading this was an odd experience. I was enjoying myself, I thought I liked the characters, and then suddenly I wasn't and I didn't. I'm not sure where it went off. And it's not that Sharp isn't a good writer. She is. I think it's more that I thought she was going somewhere else with it. At best, I can say that the character Cluny seems to embody a spirit of change, of unrest, of a new individuality and unrootedness - a break with tradition (which was necessary and important at the time) that b ...more
Mar 10, 2016 Aimee rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed every page of this book. Cluny was such a fun character, she was honest, fun, and full of surprises. The story begins with Cluny living with her uncle, but he decides it is in her best interest to go into service as a maid and sends her to Devon to begin a new life. Cluny adjusts to her new life in her own unique way which involves befriending fellow maids, enjoying her day off walking a neighbor dog, and learning her role in her new home.

There are several other interesting characters
Jun 09, 2013 Laura rated it it was ok
I had read and loved several of the Rescuers books as a child so when I discovered that Margery Sharp had written stories for adults I was intrigued. Well...

I really wanted to like this book. It just didn't grab me. The premise was interesting but I never felt connected to the characters. In fact, I disliked most of them. The ending was so unlikely (although I was glad for Cluny) that it made me groan with disbelief.

and lucky me, I accidentally ordered this book twice so now I have TWO copies
Jun 14, 2015 Nancy rated it it was amazing
Margery Sharp (1905-1991) started her career writing for Punch and serialized magazine stories. Her first novel appeared in 1930 and her last in 1977. Her novels are comedic yet insightful, witty with a deep humanity. Several of her novels were made into films, including Disney's animated versions of her children's Rescuer series. Open Roads Media is publishing ten of Shape's novels as ebooks, and I hope she finds a new generation of fans.

Set in pre-war Britain, Cluny is an orphan living with he
Mar 08, 2016 Helen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading The Nutmeg Tree a few months ago, I was desperate to read more books by Margery Sharp, so the news that several of her novels were being reissued by Open Road Media came just at the right time for me.

What I remember most from The Nutmeg Tree is its heroine, the wonderful Julia Packett. Cluny Brown is another memorable character – an intelligent, free-spirited young woman who refuses to ‘know her place’. To the dismay of Uncle Arn, who has brought up the orphaned Cluny, she’s the s
Mar 08, 2016 Melissa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received an ARC of this title from Open Road Media.

I absolutely feel in love with the quirky, charming and free-spirited character of Cluny Brown. We first meet her through the eyes of her Uncle Arn, who is distressed because he feels that Cluny doesn't seem to know her proper place in life. He tells a stranger that he meets in the park that his twenty year-old niece had the nerve to treat herself to tea at the Ritz. Uncle Arn is simply beside himself that Cluny doesn't understand that she is
Oct 13, 2014 Ann rated it liked it
Shelves: anglophilia
This book from 1938 features a very likable heroine. Cluny Brown is 20, tall and gawky, and has, according to her concerned family, a major problem : she doesn't know her place. That is, in class-conscious pre-war England, she doesn't seem to realize that lower-middle class girls like herself don't go to the Ritz for tea, just for the fun of it, and don't allow strange men to invite them for cocktails. The truth is, that Cluny is hungering for new experiences, for a life that is larger than what ...more
Kilian Metcalf
May 09, 2016 Kilian Metcalf rated it it was amazing
Margery Brown doesn't need my praises, but I'm going to sing them for those who may not have discovered her yet. Generations come and go, and the latest generation doesn't always realize what treasures lie in store for them. Now that great books are being uncovered from the sands of time, dusted off and presented as shiny new objects, there are many delightful stories to discover.

I recognized the title of the book, but had never read it or seen the movie. I associated the author's name with the
Jan 18, 2015 Sarah added it
I had completely forgotten about this book until I was researching the works of director Ernst Lubitsch and ran across this title among his directing credits. I've never seen the film, but I remember the book sat on my parents' bookshelves and sometime around junior high school , I pulled it down and started reading. Around the same time I read Saroyan's MY NAME IS ARAM and THE HUMAN COMEDY and THE THURBER CARNIVAL. I'm sure they must have been Book of the Month Club editions. I'll always be gra ...more
Aug 20, 2015 Cajou rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un classique qui n'a pas pris la poussière. Malgré quelques lenteurs au milieu du roman (j'aurais voulu davantage de péripéties), j'ai pris beaucoup de plaisir et j'ai eu du mal à croire que ce roman avait 70 ans. Car sous des apparences légères et drôles, on a là entre les mains un roman féministe (dans le sens noble du terme) avant l'heure !

La langue de Margery Sharp est tout à fait délicieuse : un peu surannée mais point vieillotte, c'est enjoué et plein de peps, notamment dans les dialogues
May 09, 2016 Darien rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
Old school Brit-Lit. And for anyone who watches old movies, the lead character is very much along the lines of "Georgie Girl". Once I figured that out, the ending wasn't so surprising. Delightful English country manor pre-WWII characters. Everyone behaves just as they ought, except for our protagonist who "doesn't know her place" and does something at the end that no one in the story understands. Many reviewers also didn't get that while her character wants to please those around her (mostly jus ...more
Gabi Coatsworth
Jan 24, 2015 Gabi Coatsworth rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor
Exactly the right book for me to be reading right now, when I need cheering up. Wrtten in 1944, when the war had been dragging on for 5 years, it must have provided comfort, humor and solace to a war weary Britain. Cluny Brown, a young woman who refuses to 'know her place" finds happiness in an unconventional way.
"To know one's place was to Arnold Porritt (Cluny's uncle) the basis of all civilized, all rational life; keep to your class and you couldn't go wrong. A good plumber, backed by his Uni
Michele Brenton
A brilliant book enjoyed by myself and my husband when he finally got round to reading it. Lots of fun and wonderfully insightful as to how people can find their place in the world if they are prepared to smash their way through conventions.
Alisha Trenalone
Dec 31, 2013 Alisha Trenalone rated it liked it
Liked it pretty well until the ending, which I just didn't see coming and didn't totally agree with.
Ricky Garni
Jun 21, 2012 Ricky Garni rated it it was amazing
Imagine if Henry James had a sense of humor.
Jul 14, 2016 Heidi rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: never-finished
I admit I didn't finish this book. It was to slow moving and after 1/2 way done I just couldn't read any more. I think the 1946 movie might be better.
Judy Lesley
Apr 02, 2016 Judy Lesley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What an utterly charming reading experience this novel was for me. Not having read anything previously by Margery Sharp I had no idea of what I might find. The result was a true delight. This was light and sweet and humorous in bringing the spotlight on the English class system and what happens when someone doesn't fit into their "place". Yet there was no malice or cruelty involved, just warm feelings for a world which might have only existed to this extent in the pages of novels anyway.

It seems
Pamela Shropshire
May 21, 2016 Pamela Shropshire rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cluny Brown is an orphan, brought up by her plumber uncle, Uncle Arn, and his wife, Aunt Floss. After Aunt Floss dies, Uncle Arn continues to look after her, but he's worried because Cluny doesn't "know her place." She does inexplicable things like going to the Ritz for tea. So another aunt recommends that Uncle Arn send Cluny into service.

A position is found for Cluny at a large country house. It is here that "things happen" to Cluny - or it could be said that Cluny happens to the other inhabit
Apr 15, 2016 Elizabeth rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, netgalley
I wanted to love Cluny Brown - I really did - both the character and the overall book. I just...didn't. I'm having a hard time accounting for what bothered me about this book but I believe the pacing was what undid the fun of it for me.

Cluny Brown is a young woman who is described as not particularly attractive yet able to attract the attention of men. Her youth and naivete begin to get her into precarious situations and she is sent by her uncle into "service" (housekeeping). In effect, if she'
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Margery Sharp was born Clara Margery Melita Sharp in Salisbury. She spent part of her childhood in Malta.

Sharp wrote 26 novels, 14 children's stories, 4 plays, 2 mysteries and many short stories. She is best known for her series of children's books about a little white mouse named Miss Bianca and her companion, Bernard. Two Disney films have been made based on them, called The Rescuers and The Res
More about Margery Sharp...

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