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Sunlight on the Lawn (Merry Hall Trilogy #3)

4.42  ·  Rating details ·  223 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
Sunlight on the Lawn brings to a close Beverley Nichols's delightful Merry Hall trilogy describing the renovation of his run-down Georgian mansion and its garden.
Hardcover, 273 pages
Published February 15th 1999 by Timber Press (first published February 1st 1999)
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Tiffany Reisz
Dec 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I really could read Nichols gardening memoirs for the rest of my life. I know that sounds weird--and it is weird--but they're so silly and sweet and tender and imaginative. What a lovely odd mind he had. And God blessing him for attempting to be openly gay in the UK in the early 20th century. A brave man and a brilliant writer.
Jul 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
I adore Beverley Nichols' books about his house and garden. This is a book in which, really, nothing happens but I love it just the same. This is the third in a series about Merry Hall and it's as delightful as the first two. My favorite scenes involve the local ladies (Miss Emily and Our Rose) and their hysterical little societal battles similar to Mapp and Lucia. If you have not read BN before start with Merry Hall.
Feb 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Beverly, Beverly,'re impossibly snooty sometimes, you hate women, think babies are revolting and are a bit overly obsessed with your cats and yet...somehow you are so charming, so clever, and so very, very funny. Sunlight was the final book in his famous trilogy...a great capstone to the story of his adventures renovating the gardens of an English country estate. Just like all the other books I read with a notepad in hand and was forever scribbling down Latin names to look up or ev ...more
Nov 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
What could be better than Beverley Nichols on a snowbound day?!

"I should certainly choose a spray of clematis....the clematis is the symbol of artifice. I the time of Nero its stains were used by the beggars in the streets of Rome to produce artificial ulcers on their skins" (156).

"Why should they be for anything, if they look beautiful?...If you want an excuse for them, you can just say that they're a Folly....There's a lot of significance in that capital F....Our ancestors gave it t
I do love Beverley Nichols, although reading gardening books by people with extensive acreage in England when one has a shady balcony in the GTA is perhaps not such a great idea. I get inspired, but nothing can come of it. I will never be able to cram so much as a column onto this balcony (nor, really, do I want to), much less many columns making a Folly, to say nothing of the water garden and the Nice Balustrade!
Jun 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2013
Have you ever loved a book from the first word? The other books in the Merry Hall trilogy were like that for me, and so I expected this book to be the same. Nichols did not fail. As I portioned it out before bed each night, I was enchanted by Nichols' particular view of the world and his delight in creating the garden at Merry Hall. He has a wonderful turn of phrase, and the ability to make mundane things like the search for a NB (nice balustrade) into an entertaining quest.

Sep 19, 2016 rated it it was ok
Of the three Nichols' books I've read, Merry Hall is definitely my favorite. With each successive volume the charm, wit and je ne sais quoi steadily decreased.
Aug 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Another funny installment about the author's mansion and gardens. Loved his writing so much that I couldn't read them fast enough!
Jennifer Heise
Nichols, the Original Bright Young Thing (as someone quoted in his Wikipedia entry said), can be described as arch, quaint, and twee. Gladys Taber he was not. His is the kind of humorous affectation that makes Neil Gaiman's comment "gayer than a tree full of monkeys on nitrous oxide" amusing. He is always rushing about in his prose, as well as rushing up to town and down again, coming up with quixotic gardening plans and quaint affectations.

And yet, there's an amusement to reading his works. Un
Nov 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A lovely treat to read. Nichols has the art of making you feel you are right there in the situations he talks about, whether it is an argument between Miss Emily and Our Rose, an educational ramble by the ever wise Marius, the anguish of the long-suffering Gaskin who dreads the coming of (work) Men who will insist upon tramping into his kitchen and being treated to his tea at the rate of a guinea an hour, the cat lover whose beloved animal must be 'put down' then replaced, and the ever impetuous ...more
Dec 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
As charming as the previous two in the trilogy. This one is a bit sadder (view spoiler), and the introduction, telling us that Nichols had to leave Merry Hall eventually due to lack of funds, and of his regret at never seeing the garden mature, is sad too. Still: if you like his garden books, don't leave this one out.
'I want to wear out,' [Oldfield] said very softly. 'To wear out. Not to rust out.'

Was a wonderful read, though I should have read the first two in the Merry Hall trilogy first, it wasn't too out of place. More enjoyable tales and humour from BN. This book seemed a bit more thoughtful and sad at times.

Jul 27, 2011 added it
I saw this in the library and remembered that I had really enjoyed other books of his that I have read. It took a couple of chapters to get back in the swing of his writing. For a bit I was thinking, say, exactly why did I like his books so much? And then I knew. I was sorry when it ended and will have to go back to the others. I love his characters, stories, and writing.
Jul 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Nothing much happens, yet I can't stop reading these village fictions. Nichols describes his gardening passions, is drawn into a feud between two local women, each of whom is convinced she's in the right (he's fairly sure they're both wrong), and explains how he changed his soil from chalky to acid so he could raise some of his favorite flowers. (It's expensive and difficult.)
Nov 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
The third in English author Beverley Nichols' autobiographical trilogy,the 'Merry Hall' series, describing his country house and garden in the early 1950's is a wonderful escape for garden enthusiasts and fans of P.G. Wodehouse, E.F.Benson and television series like 'Downton Abbey.'
Apr 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Charming trilogy with amusing characters, breathtaking descriptions, funny dialog. Loved it.
Mar 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Such a perfect book to read during the dreary tail end of winter...
Dec 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gardening
Another wonderfully droll book about Nichols' gardening adventures.
Jan 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
More good stuff from Mr. Nichols. Although this is supposed to be the last in his series about Merry Hall, I will definitely search out later works for news of him, his household, and his neighbors.
Sep 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very satisfying end of the Merry Hall trilogy with some very funny stories. One of my favorite Nichols' books.
Mar 26, 2011 rated it liked it
I think I'm looking forward to spring, but getting a bit tired of Mr. Beverley Nichols.
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Tracy Blom
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May 15, 2013
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Apr 24, 2012
Ronda Parsons
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Mar 03, 2011
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Nov 27, 2011
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John Beverley Nichols was an author, playwright, journalist, composer, and public speaker.
More about Beverley Nichols...

Other Books in the Series

Merry Hall Trilogy (3 books)
  • Merry Hall
  • Laughter on the Stairs
“Why do insurance companies, when they want to describe an act of God, invariably pick on something which sounds much more like an act of the Devil? One would think that God was exclusively concerned in making hurricanes, smallpox, thunderbolts, and dry rot. They seem to forget that He also manufactures rainbows, apple-blossom, and Siamese kittens. However, that is, perhaps, a diversion.” 1 likes
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