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Prima di pranzo

(Barsetshire #8)

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  556 ratings  ·  71 reviews
I Middleton sono una coppia in apparenza male assortita – lui anziano e noioso, lei giovane e vivace –, in realtà unita da un profondo sentimento. Un’estate hanno ospite per una lunga vacanza la sorella vedova di lui, Lilian, accompagnata dai suoi figliastri, Denis e Daphne, e alla fine del soggiorno molti equilibri sembrano saltare.
Denis, di salute malferma e brutti
Paperback, 266 pages
Published 2016 by Astoria (first published 1939)
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Average rating 3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  556 ratings  ·  71 reviews

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Mary Durrant
Dec 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A delightful read.
Told with wit and charm.
If you ever need cheering up this one is perfect.
Who will end up with who I wonder?
I loved it!
Jan 09, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
My least favorite of the Thirkells I've read thus far, and indeed I found most of the book crushingly boring. It had some charm (I liked the youthful composer of modern music so good naturedly playing Gilbert and Sullivan to old Lord Bond by the hour), but really, so little happened, even by Thirkell's standards. Also, I was further disgruntled on coming on the goodreads to rate the book, to see that I inadvertently jumped two books ahead in the (admittedly, rather loose) series. This is
It was underwhelming and slightly colourless compared to the sparkling & witty Pomfret Towers, but a light entertainment, nevertheless.
Mrs. Stoner and her grown step-children, Denis and Daphne have come to spend the summer with Mrs. Stoner's brother, Mrs. Middleton. Mrs. Stoner and her sister-in-law, Catherine (Catherine Middleton!) soon become fast friends. Denis also befriends Mrs. Middleton, whom he believes to be long-suffering and also becomes close with Lord Bond, who IS long-suffering. Daphne makes new friends too: Mr. Cameron, the law partner of Mr. Middleton and C.W., the son of Lord and Lady Bond. She soon makes herse ...more
Yes. It is extraordinary how many things can happen before lunch.

This book had/was:

--> British charm
--> witty dialogues
--> wise, observant eye of Angela Thirkell
--> smart and funny satire of British society living in countryside
--> perfectly chosen and described characters
--> unusual, original love stories (I mean, Mrs. Thirkell connected people who most writers wouldn't have connected).

These (mentioned above) things you can find in her other books. In this one, they created an almost
Not my favourite Thirkell, but still sweet and funny. I love Daphne and Cedric, Denis, Lilian, Cameron, even Lady Bond.
But poor Catherine Middleton!
(Never thought I'd ever write those words! ;))
Jan 19, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
FINALLY finished Before Lunch by Angela Thirkell. There were many reasons it took me so long. First was that I was listening to it on a platform (Hoopla) that made it difficult to just turn on whenever I wanted. Usually this would be on my walks (weather's been too cold) and in the car on my way to and from work. Secondly, the book did not keep my interest most of the way through. It is a little disconcerting to me how similar all 4 of the books I have read by her have been. The characters have all b ...more
May 28, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not my favourite Barsetshire novel, but I'm trying to read them in order and this was next on the list. There were definitely a few great scenes and the usual sparkling dialogue, but I found myself confused between the two middle-aged neighbour women, both of whom fell in love unexpectedly. It's unusual that anybody winds up unhappy in Angela Thirkell's novels so I felt a little badly for the one couple whose passion was doomed. However, I did enjoy the emergence of some minor characters from pr ...more
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 or
Jul 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anglophilia
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
Sep 18, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
These Carol & Graf reprints had much better editing than the more recent editions.
Sep 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Wanda McCaddon does a marvelous narration.
Kaethe Douglas
After finishing the next one in the series, I wanted to come back and comment. I rather liked it right up until the very end. But, moving on to Cheerfulness so soon puts this one into better perspective: ah, here is the melancholy tone coming along underneath the very happy ending.

Library copy
Mar 16, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 a
Oct 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This entry in Thirkell's Barsetshire series is more bittersweet than the previous ones...
May 11, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I think I'm over Angela Thirkell now. Her books are formulaic, but I've found them funny up till now. This one is just tedious with a rather tiresome cast of characters. Even Daphne is just a pale shadow compared to the awesome Lydia, my favourite of all Thirkell's characters. It had its amusing moments, but I soon lost interest in who was going to marry who and how, and only finished it for completeness. If you haven't read any Thirkell, try High Rising or Wild Strawberries, two of her best.
Jenn Estepp
Deciding to finally make my way through Thirkell has been a wonderful decision. While this one was not as immediately compelling as some others, I love the characters and admire the bit of melancholia that is threaded through it.
Nikolai Volsky
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Appeared to be very easy to read, simple to understand and straightforward to form an overall picture in the head book about software architecture. A lot of wisdom, good examples, celar structure. This book is good for a wide range of audience. I would even recommend it to managers. It will help to avoid some stupid technical decisions.
Bryn (Plus Others)
Not one of my favourites the first time I read it, but I appreciated it a very great deal on this reread, especially (view spoiler) ...more
If there had been a murder, and Angela Thirkell had been Agatha Christie, then no doubt I would have enjoyed this more. A mediocre, country-house-set, pre-WW2 comedy, somewhat akin to Wodehouse. If you like stereotypes, plot progression that seems interminably slow without giving you much pertinent detail, and nearly every unwed character pairing up for marital bliss by the last page, then read away. For me, it will be my one venture into this dull and dated series. Even the cows didn't save it ...more
Dec 05, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This one has a lot more of the love stuff (including calf love) and a little less story outside the love angles. It does contain the story of Lord Bond and Pooker's Piece, which is referred to (in passing) in several of the other books. I didn't enjoy it as much as some of the others, because a lot of the humor is based on tiresome people's foibles, rather than being inherently funny. It is still an entertaining book, as they all are!
Jul 12, 2016 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
* 1000 novels everyone must read: the definitive list: Comedy

Selected by the Guardian's Review team and a panel of expert judges, this list includes only novels – no memoirs, no short stories, no long poems – from any decade and in any language. Originally published in thematic supplements – love, crime, comedy, family and self, state of the nation, science fiction and fantasy, war and travel – they appear here for the first time.
Jo Crawford
Sep 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: vmc-book-group
I read this for my first ever book group and I did really enjoy it. It reminded me of Blandings by Wodehouse a little and the rural pre WW2 setting was like the Cazalets. It had romance, agricultural fairs and committee meetings, who could ask for more. I hope I like the next book at book group as much :)
Jan 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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.
Verity W
Not my favourite of the series but still a fun and amusing comedy of manners and society in inter war England. There's the reappearance of a few old friends from previous Barsetshire novels as well as a few new ones. I particularly enjoyed the state of warfare between Lord and his butler and the complicated tangle of relationships between step-children and their relatives and relatives friends.
The Hobbit
Not admitting their true feelings leads to confusion and anguish for young and old alike. Getting engaged to the wrong person could have been disastrous for the spirited Daphne, but all turns out right in the end.
This was just a middling Thirkell novel for me. I loved the characters (as usual), and enjoyed seeing the return of many previous Thirkell characters, but something was lacking in the plot and story for me!
if you're old fashioned, and need something reassuring to read in a stormy time, I recommend Angela Thirkell. Almost like heaven as described by the Talking Heads: nothing, nothing every happens. I love it.
Aug 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 10, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Slightly more of a chore to get through than the previous instalments, but charming nonetheless. Unusually for these books it ends on a slightly sour note as well. Poor Mrs Middleton. Her suffering is equal to that of Charlotte Lucas I think.
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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)
  • High Rising (Barsetshire, #1)
  • Wild Strawberries (Barsetshire, #2)
  • The Demon in the House
  • August Folly
  • Summer Half
  • Pomfret Towers
  • The Brandons
  • Cheerfulness Breaks In
  • Northbridge Rectory
  • Marling Hall
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