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August Folly (Barsetshire #4)

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  289 ratings  ·  36 reviews
The village of Worsted is staging Hippolytus under the aegis of the indefatigable Mrs. Palmer. Given this background, it seems inevitable that the most absurd romances should bloom, as indeed they do. Thirkell's novels provide a scrutiny of British manners in the most entertaining doses.
Paperback, 297 pages
Published October 1st 1995 by Carroll & Graf Publishers (first published 1936)
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(showing 1-30 of 466)
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August Folly is one of Angela Thirkell's highly entertaining Barsetshire books set in Britain during the 1930s. This one involves a collection of country families, at least 2 Jane Austen references, a summer holiday production of the Greek play Hippolytus by Euripides, and the misunderstandings of several young couples as they fall in love.
What a lovely book.
Wonderful characters including a donkey called Modestine and a cat who's name is Gunnar.
I loved the dialogue between them.
I've often wondered what animals think!
I just love these books which are told with wit and charm.
A bygone era of class and manners.
Highly recommended!
I do hope that Virago are going to re print some more of these wonderful novels.
It seems I can't get enough of them.
There is nothing quite so nice as reading an entire book, cover to cover, in a single rainy Saturday.

And Angela Thirkell is, apparently, an excellent choice for this: light without being trashy. She has an eagle eye for her characters' flaws, but she also treats them with great empathy, and seems to wish them well. Her novels will never be big books, but they are well worth reading, and I will be saving the rest of the library's stock as a treat for future rainy Saturdays.
This book is adorable. It would be easy for characters in this type of comic novel to be caricatures, but Thirkell never falls into that trap; her characters have dark sides as well as surface sillinesses. Like Jane Austen she has a waspish humour which is well deployed in this book, particularly on the male characters ("Mr Fanshawe, who like most of his sex would enthusiastically neglect any woman, however charming, to talk to any man, however dull" is worthy of Austen herself).

Yet you can fee
Not quite 3 stars

This book is number 4 in the Barsetshire series. I read it right after I finished reading the 1st book in the series 'High Rising'. Both books stand completely on their own, and do not need to be read in any particular order.

I did not like this one as much as 'High Rising'. There were too many characters introduced in Chapter 1 (I lost count after the 24th one) and there was way too much discussion of cricket (which I did not understand in the least).

There were also several lit
Jan 12, 2011 Kate rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: romantics. someone who needs a break from dark and serious lit
Having just finished several fairly dark "reads" in a row, I needed some fluffy sweet literary sorbet to clear my palate for the next serious volume on my shelf. I was pretty sure that Angela Thirkell would provide exactly what I needed, and she did. Her characters concentrate on minutia, and things usually work out happily. Some of her books end with three suitable couples becoming engaged, some with only two. Adorable.

Of her books, I truly love "Pomfret Towers" (which soothes my soul because t
Charming story of 2 families and the neighborhood of their summer retreat. Spoiled Richard, who did badly at Oxford in spite of his intellectual parents. His sister, dutiful, neglected Margaret who has grown up nicely in other people's homes. Beautiful, universally loved Mrs. Dean, and her nine children. The local J.P.'s wife, so determined to produce Greek plays that she ropes her neighbors into acting. An individualistic, 20-year-old donkey and his feline friend. Out of a bubbling brew of pers ...more
Aug 28, 2012 Leslie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Jane Austin & EF Benson fans
Recommended to Leslie by: Joan Garland
Shelves: humor, british
The story of a summer in the village of Worsted, on the outskirts of Winter Overcotes and not far from Winter Underclose... Primarily the story of the family Tebbens -- father (scholarly and downtrodden), mother (scholarly but domestically a disaster), son (college-aged, ashamed of his family), and daughter (generally overlooked by the rest of the family).
Not quite as riveting as "Summer Half", but still a very enjoyable read. There's romance, calf love, precocious children, misunderstandings, fussy middle-aged ladies (really, some of them seem quite familiar ...), all the trimmings - and a happy ending for all. Liked it a lot.
Katharine Holden

Loved this bit when Laurence, who is recuperating in his room from a badly sprained ankle, and is trying to propose marriage to his true love, when they are interrupted by his old Nanny:

"What is it, Nanny?"

"I've brought you up a nice plate of mulberries, Master Laurence," said Nanny. "Miss Susan gathered them last night and they're all nice and ripe. You ought to have plenty of fruit while you're not taking exercise."

"That's quite enough of a repellent subject, Nanny," said Laurence. "And
In August Folly, the fourth of Thirkell’s Barsetshire novels, the reader finds hirself once again the world of the English gentry in the years between the two World Wars. It is tempting to categorize this as light-weight book with two main functions: to entertain and the second to sketch in more completely the existing characters that make up the cast of the Bartsetshire novels and to add a few more members to that cast.

Those functions may have been the conscious intentions of the author however
This was my first Angela Thirkell novel and I really enjoyed it and look forward to digging out more of her books at my local used book store. As I am currently (and slowly!) working my way through Anthony Trollope's Barsetshire novels, I love the idea that Thirkell is picking up the same mythical Barsetshire places, families and even the gentle humor and social satire of Trollope. I agree with other reviewers that although she's in the category of Austen or Trollope for social comedy she's not ...more
Joann Jozwiak
I read August Folly after thoroughly enjoying Before Lunch. I did not enjoy this quite as much as I found the characters to be less distinguishable from each other and they are introduced almost all at once. They eventually sorted themselves out but they still seemed all of a kind. The talking donkey and cat were fun and quite unexpected.
August Folly is the fourth book in Angela Thirkell’s Barsetshire series of novels. It is light, bright breezy fun – and although I couldn’t possibly read more than one at a time, these novels are perfect fare for occasional, lazy, tired weekend reading. In short, as enjoyable as these Thirkell books can be – I do really need to be in the right frame of mind for them, which is why they have been sitting unread for some time. As it was, last weekend I was just in exactly the right frame of mind an ...more
Sonia Gensler
This book wasn't quite what I expected, and it took a while to care about the characters. Being a pretty rabid Thirkell fan, I pressed on, and by the 2/3 point was hooked. The final third of the book is charming and laugh-aloud funny. Not my favorite Thirkell, but still well worth reading.
Ruby Rose Scarlett
I don't know if I cared a whole lot about the characters in this. I always seem to read Angela Thirkell at the worst of times when there's so much going in my life and she's the kind of author who should be read when you're cosy and can give her your full attention. As it was, my mind was elsewhere and my reading suffered for it. Shame.
Not one of the better Thirkell books I've read, though I did really like the ending. Far too many characters, for large sections every other word was a name which is impossible to read! Also writing felt frantic which clashed the very slow story. I still like this series but I wouldn't read this one again.
In this book we meet the Dean family. It is a large family and many of them will appear in later novels. The girls make really good wives for minor characters. Here, Mrs. Dean is lovely middle-aged woman (her children are young adults, so she is certainly over 45). A young man worships her from afar. She is flattered, but not interested. I think this must have been one of Mrs. Thirkell's experiences or wishes. The Older woman/younger man occurs often in the novels. Susan Dean is a young woman wh ...more
Cynthia Egbert
I had put all of Angela Thirkell's books on my to read list, but one was enough. I added these due to a recommendation from someone that usually pegs what I am going to like, but not this time. It wasn't terrible, just a bit tedious at times. However, it still gets three stars because it was so very British!
A great study in contrasts: the Palmers, who mostly annoy and get annoyed; the Tebbens, who have to work around their parsimonious, interfering mother; and the boisterous Deans. Everyone is a sympathetic character, of course, and everyone has his or her own quirks. I love the deaf old Rector, who hears what he wants to hear especially if it has to do with the Greek classics. I love his curate, an awkward fellow who tries so hard to create esprit de corps. I love young Richard Tebben, so dissatis ...more
3.5 stars. I didn't enjoy this as much as some of Angela Thirkell's other novels (High Rising, Pomfret Towers, Summer Half) but it was still enjoyable and grew on me as the novel progressed.
Nancy  W'f
I discovered Angela Thirkell completely by accident. Thrashing around the library looking for something to listen to while running, I chanced across August Folly in a playaway edition. What a treat! The characters engaged me immediately and I had to get the book because listening to it wasn't fast enough--I couldn't wait to see how this comedy of manners played out. I felt like I was reading a collaboration between Jane Austen and Miss Read. Charming romance, wonderful humor, memorable character ...more
Lovely, pleasant, and gentle, as all Thirkell's Barsetshire series books are.
Jennifer Heise
The pleasure of wanting desperately to thrash Richard... :)
OH, what a pleasure! The reader (I don't think it was my beloved Nadia May, but it was someone equally good) was wonderful, and the story was sheer pleasure: the plot had a bit more direction than hers sometimes do, but still kept a wonderful sense of the community and people of Barsetshire. I truly didn't know who would end up with whom, or what people's secrets were, until everything was calmly, charmingly, deliberately revealed. A genuine delight.
Charlie Lovett
Another great set of character studies in the English countryside by Thirkell. This one is centered (if that is the right word for her books) around the mounting of an amateur production of a Greek drama so naturally I found all the stage antics amusing. A lot here about growing up, too, especially in the characters of Richard and Helen.
Jan 17, 2014 Catherine marked it as to-read
Shelves: cwmars-hold
Verity W
Enjoyed reading this - made me smile (and nearly laugh out loud a couple of times). Nice fun summery reading with village characters that you can recognise.
Takes a while to get used to the characters and to find out that they're generally likeable, because most of them have issues. Lots of people to keep track of. Wasn't sure how much I was enjoying it at least a third of the way through, but it ended well.
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Angela Margaret Mackail was born on January 30, 1890 at 27 Young Street, Kensington Square, London. Her grandfather was Sir Edward Burne-Jones the pre-Raphaelite painter and partner in the design firm of Morris and Company for whom he designed many stained glass windows - seven of which are in St Margaret's Church in Rottingdean, West Sussex. Her grandmother was Georgiana Macdonald, one of a prec ...more
More about Angela Thirkell...

Other Books in the Series

Barsetshire (1 - 10 of 29 books)
  • High Rising
  • Wild Strawberries
  • The Demon in the House
  • Summer Half
  • Pomfret Towers
  • The Brandons
  • Before Lunch
  • Cheerfulness Breaks In
  • Northbridge Rectory
  • Marling Hall
High Rising Wild Strawberries The Brandons Pomfret Towers Before Lunch

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“People who say Jane or talk about Janeites revolt me. The sort that can walk with kings and not lose that common touch. 'Miss Austen to you' is what I feel inclined to say.” 0 likes
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