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High Rising

(Barsetshire #1)

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  1,642 ratings  ·  274 reviews
Successful lady novelist Laura Morland and her boisterous young son Tony set off to spend Christmas at her country home in the sleepy surrounds of High Rising. But Laura's wealthy friend and neighbour George Knox has taken on a scheming secretary whose designs on marriage to her employer threaten the delicate social fabric of the village. Can clever, practical Laura rescue ...more
Paperback, 276 pages
Published November 22nd 2012 by Virago (first published 1933)
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3.73  · 
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 ·  1,642 ratings  ·  274 reviews

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Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂
May 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: humour
I loved this cover. High Rising by Angela Thirkell Just charming. I didn't love much else about this book.

I think I was expecting too much from this early work. Very few authors are immediately brilliant. But for me there were a lot of characters at the start, a lot of not much happening in the middle & a predictable ending that wrapped things up a bit too tidily.

I don't think Alexander McCall Smith's introduction of my edition added much to my understanding. However, Wikipedia's biography of Mrs Thirkell is fascinatin
Sep 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: realism
Well-written, mildly amusing novel of small-town, upper-middle-class English people having interactions and conversations. Dull romances and petty rivalries. Could have used more plot and less boys talking about trains. I'll most likely read another of her books sooner or later.

This edition has quite a lot of typos, of the sort that are almost certainly the fault of careless production -- missing punctuation, accidental unneeded paragraph spacing, that sort of thing.
Dec 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have had a selection of Angela Thirkell’s books on my shelves for a few years now, but I have been reluctant to read them. Because I knew that they were part of a series, albeit loosely linked, that it seemed would be difficult to collect in its entirety. Because I haven’t read Trollope’s Chronicles of Barchester – despite making a few attempts on the first book in the series – and I know that Angela Thirkell borrowed Trollope’s setting, and there are links and references for lovers of both au ...more
Mar 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh, how odious! The pompously verbose but good-hearted author George Knox has hired a loathsome new secretary who seems determined to manipulate him into marriage. This causes no end of trouble, irritating his good friend and fellow author Laura Morland. The lovely but quite happily widowed Mrs. Morland tries to set things right, but she’s often distracted by her energetic train-obsessed youngest son or her lovestruck publisher or the tribulations and/or celebrations of one of her fellow residen ...more
Dec 13, 2015 rated it liked it
High Rising is about as substantial as a soufflé, but who doesn’t enjoy a soufflé when the mood is right?

Angela Thirkell (1890-1961) wrote many works of fiction and non-fiction. Her fictional books, which include 29 novels set in the fictional county of Barsetshire, were very popular in their day. High Rising is the first of the Barsetshire novels and was originally published in 1933. It was republished as a Virago Modern Classic in 2012.

Successful novelist Laura Morland, and her boisterous yo
Helene Jeppesen
Jun 25, 2017 rated it liked it
This first novel in the Barsetshire series was definitely entertaining and full of mundane intrigues, but it wasn't as engrossing as I had been hoping for. I found the characters to be somewhat dull, and while I did see the humour in the characters and the situations they found themselves in, I did not find the story that hilarious.
This is one of those books that didn't really leave me with much feeling or thought. I just feel like it was "okay" and have no strong emotions about it. Therefore,
Jacob Proffitt
Dec 31, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a flat-out delight with a few very mild drawbacks.

I enjoyed the setting immensely and the characters were a delight (with one exception, but not for the reason you'd think). Laura, the chief viewpoint character, is funny and kind but with a biting wit when she wants one. Her friends in their small community are good companions in every way that matters and it took no time at all to become wrapped up in their lives and concerns.

Which is good because the novel is firmly ensconced in a pre
Austen to Zafón
I had a hard time slogging through this book. I don't know if I'm just getting past my love affair with the cozy British novel or what, but I couldn't find a thing to like about any of the characters in this book. And the constant negative references to Jews, as well as a couple random comments about "Indians" and South Americans, wore on me. I read a lot of fiction from the late 19th and early 20th century, so I know racism was common and I generally roll my eyes inwardly and move on, but Thirk ...more
A wonderful comedy.

Like most healthy men he thought that any illness was death.

So he dismissed her from his mind, where indeed she had never held any very prominent place

A language and humor of Thirkell is simply splendid. It is a great example of an intelligent comedy.

Marvellous characters which reader meets in one period of their life. There is a little romance but for me the novel is built of two things:

1. perfectly chosen and described characters
2. parts with child's point of view.

I love To
Social comedy at its most entertaining, in that most ‘charmed’ period of hindsight: twentieth century British upper-middle class rural England between the Wars.

Mr Knox employs Miss Grey as his secretary; socially a difficult position for her, provoking any amount of razor-sharp questioning requiring serious deliberation. Unconnected to that, Laura Morland’s young son Tony, a caricature of a boy if ever there was one, writes a highly amusing Valentine to his mother.

Exploring off-piste elucidate
2.5 stars

Laura Morland is a harried woman. Not only is she mother to Tony, an indefatigable, talkative, train-obsessed child, she writes silly best-selling novels to support her family. With the older boys grown and Tony in school, Laura is looking forward to finishing her next book. She enjoys a friendly relationship with her publisher Adrian Coates, and he pays her well enough to have a holiday home in the village of High Rising in Barsetshire, England. One of her neighbors, George Knox, is al
I enjoyed this book more and more as it progressed and I got to know the characters. I really liked Thirkell's style, lovely language and sense of hunour. A lovely era to escape into. So pleased Angela Thirkell has written one or two more !
Mar 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
I think I enjoyed it even more the second time around.

Delightfully fun book.
A story in which nothing much happens to a small group of people living in the English countryside. In other words, a book that is just up my alley.
Jun 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is so delicious. And there are 30 books! I am besotted.
Feb 01, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, stars-3-5

How often are you attracted, or repulsed, by a book cover? Quite a lot as it happens when you don't know the author. The art style and colours of this one just called to me. I hadn't heard of Angela Thirkell but after reading the blurb at the back, I was interested.

The story focuses on Laura Morland, a 45-year-old widow with four sons, three of which fully grown, who turned to writing novels, or "good bad books" as she says, in order to pay her boys' school fees. We follow her from London to
Jan W. Mc
Jun 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First published in 1933, High Rising is an old-fashioned gentle reading experience. The protagonist, Laura Morland, is a widow with four sons who has carved out a life as a successful writer of less than literary novels. Her circle of close friends includes her young publisher, a noted biographer and his daughter, the local physician,and the daughter of a dying woman. Add to that mix a scheming, possessive, domineering secretary (known as the Incubus!) and a variety of old-style loves-in-blossom ...more
Dec 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel then marked the end of my reading for 2012. It is a joyously frothy cosy comedy – which I just adored.
Angela Thirkell famously took the county of Barsetshire created by Anthony Trollope in the nineteenth century, setting a series of something like thirty novels there. Virago Press have re-issued the first two with such pretty covers, and I am thankful to also have the next one Wild Strawberries TBR. However I believe that the books are quite able to be read as stand alones – or in an
Connie G
"High Rising" is a humorous novel set in an English country village between the two world wars. The main character is the writer Laura Morland who is probably based on the author herself. Laura is a likable widow who writes mysteries, which she calls "good bad books", to support her sons. Her three oldest sons have left home, but young Tony is home from boarding school for the holidays. He's a model train enthusiast who never stops talking.

A small group of friends are involved in each others' li
Dec 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Hana by: Jane
What could be a better way to start the new year than by discovering a wonderful author--and one who was apparently delightfully prolific. High Rising has all the essential ingredients for a perfect cozy English Village tale: a charming heroine, a splendid cast of characters, witty dialog, a little romance, an impossibly talkative boy besotted with railways real and model, and best of all, a neurotic secretary with apparent designs on the menfolk. It is all great fun, an undemanding and easy rea ...more
Jul 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, worthless
This book was so funny. It was so delightful.

It should have gotten 5 stars.

But there are ethnic slurs peppered through it. What? The slurs are not funny. The slurs are not delightful. The slurs do NOT make sense. The slurs are fairly mild, but why are they there?

Normally, I am against overly sensitive, overly censorious modern re-editing of classics. My take on it is that we ought to know the truth about how people lived back then. Their thoughts and attitudes are an important record of the past
Sep 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So funny and lighthearted! I loved the characters and dialogue. At times I felt a little lost, though, like I couldn't make the mental jumps as quickly as the author expected me to, and I would have to go back and re-read. But overall a lovely read.
Maine Colonial
This is Thirkell’s first novel, published in 1933, and the first in her 29-volume “Barsetshire novels,” which ended in 1961. I read a couple of the books in the series many years ago, but with Virago now reissuing them, I thought it would be a good time to read from the beginning.

The lead character of this book is Laura Morland, a long-time widow who doesn’t miss her ineffectual husband one bit. To support her four boys she had to find work, but was fortunate to discover that she has a talent fo
May 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british-classic, 2012
I've been reading about High Rising for quite some time on various book blogs but wasn't able to get my hands on a copy. Although I would love an older copy, the good people at Virago Modern Classics have republished High Rising and the second book in the series, Wild Strawberries, with beautiful new covers that just hit the stores. I grabbed them up in eager anticipation and was not disappointed. High Rising is everything a cozy British novel should be. Thirkell has created a small village of w ...more
Nov 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful! I'd saved this book to read over Christmas this year and it was such a treat. I immediately became engrossed in the day-to-day lives of all the characters, particularly Laura Morland, the writer and mother that the story revolves around.

As an avid reader of vintage detective fiction, this book had some of the same elements as the cosy crime books I enjoy - the village setting, interaction between characters and the warm feeling of becoming intimately involved in their lives. But rath
Kaethe Douglas
Perfection. I dearly love the schoolboys, and Stoker and Mr. Knox's Annie, and the whole lot of them. If feels very like Emma, if Emma were a 45-year-old widow and successful novelist, rather than a girl fresh out of the schoolroom. There's a lot of people proposing to the wrong people, and Mrs. Moreland is just brilliant, and I love her constant supply of new mysteries, and the annoyed way they speak to one another:
"Don't be an idiot, Laura," said Amy. "People don't ask for suit-cases to cut t
Mary Ronan Drew
Jul 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
High Rising, the first book in the Barsetshire series by Angela Thirkell, is an extemely amusing novel, filled with charming characters, much absurdity, irony and satire, and giggly froth. Published in 1933, it tells the story of the lives and loves of a handful of people in the villages of High Rising and Low Rising from the point of view of a 40-something writer of novels about the world of couture, Laura Morland.

Read the rest of my review on my blog at:
Nov 28, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Angela Thirkell is an acquired taste but one that is quite addictive once begun. Basically, she took the county of Barchester, created by Trollope, and peopled it with the descendants of his characters. Her books are set during the 30s and 50s, and depict English county life in a way that is alien but plausible to an American reader.

It is not essential to begin with this one but it's easy to find, so why not read them in order?
Cynthia Dunn
Oct 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Delightful 1930's comedy where the women are twice as clever than the men.
Jan 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Purely entertaining, sometimes overly dramatic and stupid, but overall good old-fashioned fun that you either love or don't enjoy.

I personally enjoy this type of book every now and again. Just for fun, and the enjoyment of reading a book that is really just entertaining.
You know, just like you watch a movie that you know is stupid but its just so fun to watch it that you watch it anyways! I know that EVERYONE has that type of movie they love.

This is that type of book for me!

I know it will be
Abigail Bok
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Retro Reader heaven. If you love Jane Austen and you love old-fashioned Englishness, you can’t do much better than Angela Thirkell. And High Rising (1933) is the first in her Barsetshire series of novels (a nice huge series, so if you dive in and like it, you’ll be happy for months or years). Whenever life is too much with me, I like to retreat into Thirkell’s world, and every time I enjoy it as much as I did the first.

Thirkell had the happy notion of coopting Anthony Trollope’s fictional county
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Retro Reads: High Rising May 2018 The Spoiler thread 41 26 Jun 26, 2018 02:51PM  
Retro Reads: High Rising May 2018 No spoilers thread 61 27 May 18, 2018 04:14PM  
Bright Young Things: December 2015- High Rising by Angela Thirkell 82 28 Jan 08, 2016 08:31AM  

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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

Other books in the series

Barsetshire (1 - 10 of 32 books)
  • Wild Strawberries (Barsetshire, #2)
  • The Demon in the House
  • August Folly
  • Summer Half
  • Pomfret Towers
  • The Brandons
  • Before Lunch
  • Cheerfulness Breaks In
  • Northbridge Rectory
  • Marling Hall
“At this moment the headmaster found Master Wesendonck's tall pile of books slipping from his grasp. He juggled frantically with them for a moment and then, to the infinite joy of the boarders and day boys, they crashed to the ground in all directions. A bevy of form masters rushed forward to the rescue. Master Wesendonck, realising with immense presence of mind that his natural enemies were for once in their proper place, grovelling on the floor, stood still and did nothing.” 8 likes
“Later in the week Mr Knox's Annie bicycled over to see Stoker and ask her to waive the lien which she had on her sister's services, as they would be required for the weekend.
'She's having dinner at half-past eight on Saturday,' said Annie, when seated with her sister and Stoker in the warm kitchen... Stoker was only too delighted to get a spy into the enemy's camp, and the kitchen had a long, delightful conversation about 'Madam', as Annie called Miss Grey, with a very poor imitation of her accent.”
More quotes…