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Before Lunch (Barsetshire #8)

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  232 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Middle-aged Catherine Middleton, married to an obtuse but endearing older man, is the still center of a swirl of two generations of gentry on the brink of WW II. The activities of youngsters and contemporaries go on around her and it is only gradually that one sees how, without conscious manipulation, nothing happens without her. The characters are subtly and humorously dr ...more
Published May 1st 2009 by Moyer Bell (first published 1939)
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Angela Thirkell's pre-WW II novel explores the strange undercurrents that can exist between even the most civilized and reserved Britishers.

Mr. Middleton, a loquacious architect who likes to imagine himself a country squire in the weekend, is having his widowed sister and her two stepchildren Daphne and Denis as renters in the neighboring house. Mr. Middleton's long-term business associate, Mr. Cameron, is a frequent guest. Before long, all of them are deeply involved in county business, especi
I'll admit up front that I sometimes complain about books that don't have enough going on. Most novels require a fair amount of plot, I think, and some are very lacking. I wouldn't make that complaint about a Thirkell novel, however. In her novels not much happens, slowly, with humor and insight and great delight.

Take this book, for instance. The locals are upset about the proposed development of a certain plot of land, so they plan to protest. First they need to hold a meeting to organize the m
Poor Mrs Middleton....
Mr. Middleton's sister Lilian Stonor and her stepchildren Daphne and Denis are coming to live next door for the summer.
Daphne soon finds herself the object of attentions from two men. C.W. Bond is a neighbor, a young man with extremely suitable prospects in life and good family. Alister Cameron is a much older man who nonetheless finds himself completely taken by Daphne. Stepmother Lilian frets over the situation, certain that Alister is going to get his heart broken. The fact that he is actuall
Probably the third time I've read this one. I read Thirkell to live in her world of High Risings, Winter Overcoates and Pomfret Madrigal. Her bullying Ladies and her sensitive loving long suffering wives. I see myself in all of them, well, except possibly Mr. Middleton, a huge bag of wind.
Katharine Holden
Wonderful characters, even the ones you're glad you're not married to. The action committee meeting scene is classic -- I've been to neighborhood meetings just like that but with American accents.
Jun 06, 2014 Florence rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Florence by:
Shelves: fiction
Really like Angela Thirkell and wish I could find more of her books. British country life without the murder mystery.
This book was great fun! In the tradition of Cold Comfort Farm and many other great British satires it was full of farce, misadventure and falling for the wrong person.
In the beginning, you make a mental list of all the single characters and figure out who should wind up with whom. Then you follow them through their schedule of social events, where they meet and mingle with a set of funny characters, waiting to see whether they are going to get engaged to the right person by the end of the book. Fun, fun, fun.
Elena Richmond
This is my favorite Angela Thirkell, among her 25 or so, all of which I have read at least twice.
This entry in Thirkell's Barsetshire series is more bittersweet than the previous ones...
Love this book....and the interwoven tapestry of Barset families
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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
  • August Folly
  • Summer Half
  • Pomfret Towers
  • The Brandons
  • Cheerfulness Breaks In
  • Northbridge Rectory
  • Marling Hall
High Rising Wild Strawberries The Brandons Pomfret Towers August Folly

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