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The Charmers
Stella Gibbons
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The Charmers

3.0 of 5 stars 3.00  ·  rating details  ·  16 ratings  ·  5 reviews
Thrown out of her long-established office job, Miss Christine Smith takes up a new role as housekeeper for a group of middle-aged artists. Charmed by a previous mystical experience, her spirituality is nurtured further by the tenants, who seem stuck in their own personal lull. Written in the 1960s, surrounded by social and political transitions, the novel focuses on change ...more
Hardcover, Large print, 408 pages
Published 1978 by Magna Large Print Books (first published January 1st 1965)
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Just so racist! I'm not sure if Stella Gibbons is saying her 'charmers' are racist, or if Stella Gibbons was just a massive racist. It does cast a nasty lil shadow through the novel, but it is also a fascinating glimpse into the casual prejudices of the era, the whole British class thing. Everything about this novel feels like the last of its kind, the characters and the novel itself have the sense of being a dying breed, waiting to be swept aside by the new order of the Sixties.

This is a quiet
I continue to be astonished by Gibbons. Maybe because I find her such a surprising mix of things. She's hilarious and sometimes makes me laugh out loud. And yet, though often her characters are comic figures, they're most always more than that. She's in sympathy with all of them.

One story she likes to tell is of a character (a dowdy antiheroine named Miss Smith in this novel) who finds her circumstances bettered. This is never the end of the story for Gibbons, but the beginning, and here we wat
There has been a revival in recent years of the work of Stella Gibbons.

Best-known for her satiric first novel, Cold Comfort Farm, the winner of the Femina Vie Heureuse Prize in 1933, Gibbons also wrote over 30 other novels and collections of short stories. Vintage and Virago have reissued several of her charming books. I very much enjoyed The Rich House and Westwood.

I recently read The Charmers, first published in 1965, a small gem reminiscent of the comedies of Barbara Pym. This gently humorous
read this two days ago - now can't recall any of it at all - does that say something about me or the book???
This book didn't blow me away to the same degree as Cold Comfort Farm, but I quite enjoyed it. It reminded me a bit of Edith Wharton (whom I prefer) but also maybe with a touch of Katherine Mansfield, particularly the impact of that moment of insight ("That Day") into a world beyond the well-worn grooves of daily life (although Mansfield is a better writer, I hasten to add). It was also a nice easy read with lots of lovely characters.
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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 Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm Conference At Cold Comfort Farm

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