Certainly not her best, often repetitive, constantly rehashing scenes from earlier books (but all her later books do this). Still, it's nice to feel ICertainly not her best, often repetitive, constantly rehashing scenes from earlier books (but all her later books do this). Still, it's nice to feel I've drunk every drop of Barsetshire that the world has to offer me, and for that alone this book is worth reading.
Side note: anyone else notice the howler about Martin Leslie missing a foot? It's Robin Dale who's missing a foot, Mrs. Thirkell! Martin just had a limp! But if you think about how many ongoing characters there are by this time, it's really pretty impressive that she doesn't make this kind of mistake more often....more
Thirkell kind of outdid herself with the double affair referenced in the title. "Hey, new ladies, want to have dinner with my friend and me? Awesome.Thirkell kind of outdid herself with the double affair referenced in the title. "Hey, new ladies, want to have dinner with my friend and me? Awesome. Hey, dinner was great, wasn't itLET'SGETMARRIED LET'SGETMARRIEDRIGHTNOW." Sometimes I wonder what Thirkell thought marriage IS, exactly.
Obviously one does not come to Barsetshire for realism, especially in marriage, but I was hoping for something more substantial for these men, both of whom I'd gotten quite fond of. Oh well, at least they're happy with their ridiculously perfect wives. (Perfect because one of them is hot and super into pigs and one of them is hot and...blond? Okay.)...more
I did enjoy this as much as I enjoy all her books, but I have to say I'm getting a bit fed up with her insistence that all the working class people arI did enjoy this as much as I enjoy all her books, but I have to say I'm getting a bit fed up with her insistence that all the working class people are intellectually somehow "subnormal," yet also very good looking geniuses. (Example: Subnormal Ed Pollet, a genius with cars, marries subnormal Millie, extremely good looking, and they produce beautiful children who are idiots yet apparently brilliant with machines and plants.) All of these mentally deficient genius tradesmen are apparently content to worship the gentry for...being born into families who used to be rich? Living in nicer houses? It's not clear, but instead of starting their own garages or gardening empires these poor brilliant idiots are quite happy living in tiny cottages and doing the mucky jobs the gentry don't want to do.
But okay. You have to take Thirkell as she is, like how anytime the royal family gets mentioned (which is frequently), one character announces that it makes her want to cry, and then all the other characters have to fight back tears. You just roll your eyes and get on with the story. And vent a little bit on Goodreads afterwards....more
I was surprised by how dire things still are for the residents of Barsetshire after WWII is over. All my WWII literature tends to end with or shortlyI was surprised by how dire things still are for the residents of Barsetshire after WWII is over. All my WWII literature tends to end with or shortly after the war, so there's a sense of tremendous relief and celebration. Thirkell paints a different (and I suspect more accurate) picture of a nation still suffering from wartime privation and rationing, still short of fuel and food, and now lacking the overwhelming patriotism that was such a support during the war. It's fascinating to see how slowly things really got back to normal (and of course for the "county" people of Barsetshire and elsewhere, they never really did).
On a different note, I'm pretty fed up with the Moyer Bell editions of Thirkell's works which are, unfortunately, generally the easiest editions to obtain. They are riddled with really glaring editing mistakes which make me wonder if any English speaker even looks at them before they go to print. Virago seems to be slowly releasing their own editions which are beautifully edited and have much more appealing covers, so I always look for those first. Anything is better than Moyer Bell....more