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Group Reads > August 2018 Group Read Wild Strawberries Spoilers

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Christmas Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 1757 comments Mod
The thread for open spoilers of this book & final conclusions. If you are wanting to do a comparison to another Thirkell title, please use spoiler tags!


message 2: by Elinor (last edited Aug 16, 2018 04:13PM) (new)

Elinor | 209 comments I read this book last year, and posted my review here.
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

As I mentioned in my review, Lady Agnes reminded me of Georgette on the Mary Tyler Moore show!


message 3: by Abigail (last edited Aug 15, 2018 11:57AM) (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 727 comments I reread it last week, and I'm afraid it didn't work quite so well for me. I liked the first one better. I agree that the characters are well drawn and Lady Emily was consistently hilarious, but I found the Boulles pretty tedious and was uncomfortable with the core romantic triangle.

My review here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

BTW, Elinor, I found your review by visiting the page for the book, but Goodreads twice told me it didn't like the link (sent me hitchhiking through the galaxy).


message 4: by Susan in NC (new)

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 1415 comments Abigail wrote: "I reread it last week, and I'm afraid it didn't work quite so well for me. I liked the first one better. I agree that the characters are well drawn and Lady Emily was consistently hilarious, but I ..."

Great review! Thank you for addressing the ick factor of falling for one brother and switching to the other - I love Lady Emily and most of the book, but always wanted to punch David. I felt that way about him every time he popped up in later books, as well. But you’re so right about the romance, my least favorite part of the book. And I agree with your two categories of Thirkell books! That’s why I have found them either entertaining or comforting over the last few years, I guess - you put it beautifully.


message 5: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 72 comments She certainly changes her affections rather quickly - a bit like some of the "spare" characters in Shakespeare's romantic comedies who are married off at the end!


message 6: by Linda (last edited Aug 15, 2018 02:47PM) (new)

Linda Dobinson (baspoet) | 57 comments Of the Thirkell's I have read Wild Strawberries is my favourite. It is so funny I could not put it down. The only character I didn't overly care for was Lady Emily as I thought she was quite rude.

My review - https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 7: by Elinor (new)

Elinor | 209 comments Abigail wrote: "I reread it last week, and I'm afraid it didn't work quite so well for me. I liked the first one better. I agree that the characters are well drawn and Lady Emily was consistently hilarious, but I ..."

I have fixed it now, hopefully. I guess I didn't paste the whole cut.


message 8: by Elinor (new)

Elinor | 209 comments Linda wrote: "Of the Thirkell's I have read Wild Strawberries is my favourite. It is so funny I could not put it down. The only character I didn't overly care for was Lady Emily as I thought she was quite rude.
..."


Excellent review, Linda, thank you.


message 9: by Susan in NC (new)

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 1415 comments Great review Linda!


message 10: by Linda (new)

Linda Dobinson (baspoet) | 57 comments Thanks :)


message 11: by Susan in NC (last edited Aug 17, 2018 08:47AM) (new)

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 1415 comments I didn’t know where to put this link, but since it offers Thirkell information and info about future Barsetshire plots, I think it’s a spoiler. It’s a favorite site of mine to keep track of characters and where I’ve left off in reading order:

http://angelathirkellsociety.org/

If you’re interested, no pressure - I personally am getting quite a kick out of reading about Clarissa and Emmy as children, I just read Jutland Cottage not long ago, and they were recently married or getting married in that book...


message 12: by Karlyne (last edited Aug 17, 2018 02:30PM) (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 1964 comments I agree with everyone that Mary seems to transfer her affections awfully quickly, but I think when David put his arms around her and kissed the top of her head, she was brought to the sudden, most urgent realization that he was the wrong man. I think her distress at John's witnessing what looked like "true love" was complete. Good grief! What if she was engaged to David! Panic!

We get a very good look at Mary's personality when she utters, "Oh, dear. Oh, dear. Oh, how I wish Uncle Robert were here." Which, by the way, made me laugh out loud.

And Gudgeon. Rather a silly ending, but awfully nice. Almost delicious.


message 13: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 727 comments Mary, and this book in general, felt quite old-fashioned to me--like something set in 1912 instead of 1937 (i.e., just before World War I instead of just before World War II). The whole dithering about whether she was engaged because David put his arms around her had me muttering, "Did you miss the 1920s entirely?" She is certainly not the modern type, and even Miss What'shername the broadcast girl wasn't convincingly contemporary. I wonder a bit that Thirkell didn't set this in the recent (for her) past, or in a time not specified so that we could fill in the era for ourselves. It was jarring when I read the occasional reference to the situation in Germany.


message 14: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 1964 comments Wiki says it was published in 1934, so the Nazi presence/threat was still being ignored by most, I think. But did Madame Boule seem more German than French to anyone else? I don't know why, but I had to keep reminding myself that they weren't German.

And, yes, Mary was very innocent for 23, no matter what era she was set in. Even though she had had a small job in the library it obviously hadn't given her much experience in dealing with people who weren't exactly as they first seemed to her. On the other hand, she excelled at being with people she understood.

The broadcast world was so weirdly portrayed that I wondered if Thirkell had personal experience in it, the way Sayers had in advertising in Murder Must Advertise, or if she had certain personalities in mind. It was odd!


message 15: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 727 comments Oops, sorry, I was under the impression it was 1937, not 1934. Just goes to show I should never go by my memory! Hope I'm not becoming too much of a Lady Emily--if dead thrushes start turning up in my baskets I'll know I'm in trouble.


message 16: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 1964 comments If anything dead turns up in any of my baskets, I'll need to be scraped off the ceiling! (I had mice in my planter boxes a few weeks ago and I did an admirable stationary hover for at least half a minute)

Did you think the Boules seemed stereotypically German, in spite of all the French? Maybe it was Jean Claude's boy scout uniform...


message 17: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 72 comments I was amused by them giving the thrush to the little boy to hold a funeral!

I thought Pierre was probably a bit of a French stereotype with all the efforts to write romantic poetry. Madame Boulle seems like a one-off comic creation rather than a stereotype - I was really amused by both her and Lady Emily.


message 18: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 727 comments The Boulles would no doubt be horrified by the notion that they seemed German, there being no love lost between the two nationalities! Madame simply seemed hideously vulgar to me, and the giggling daughter unpleasant. Pierre was rather sweet in his way, and I was amused by how Jean Claude's spots got worse or better depending on how much Martin disliked or liked him.

The whole royalist thing was a bit of a surprise to me; I hadn't realized it was still a thing as late as the 1930s. But the stereotypes about national "character" were not--I lived with a French family for a summer in the 1970s and was treated to endless disquisitions about what "all" the Germans, Portuguese, Italians, Poles, etc. were like. And, as with Madame Boulle, nobody was as good as the French.


message 19: by Hana (new)

Hana | 1104 comments Mod
The real pleasure of Wild Strawberries for me was Lady Emily and dear Agnes, plus the atmosphere of a near perfect English summer. Mary's sudden switch in her affections didn't quite convince me--though I chuckled at Gudgeon and the Wedding Gong.


message 20: by Susan in NC (last edited Aug 19, 2018 10:15AM) (new)

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 1415 comments Abigail wrote: "The Boulles would no doubt be horrified by the notion that they seemed German, there being no love lost between the two nationalities! Madame simply seemed hideously vulgar to me, and the giggling ..."

Ok, I finally got to chapter 10 in my reread - I’ve only read this book once, several years ago, and I thought that royalist subplot was so pointless and silly I forgot all about it! I guess I’m a lazy, selective reader...

I’m still reading the Barsetshire books in written order, so I find myself more caught up in trying to remember which child grows up to marry which other character, when and how certain characters die, etc., and I forget subplots that either don’t make sense to me, or don’t add to the humor/romance narratives!


message 21: by Susan in NC (last edited Aug 19, 2018 10:18AM) (new)

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 1415 comments Hana wrote: "The real pleasure of Wild Strawberries for me was Lady Emily and dear Agnes, plus the atmosphere of a near perfect English summer. Mary's sudden switch in her affections didn't quite convince me--t..."

Agreed, as Karlyne said, the ending was “almost” delicious; that’s why I always come back, and have for years - I always close a Thirkell book on a predictably happy, or nostalgic, or sweet ending, with a smile on my face. Delicious!


message 22: by Hana (new)

Hana | 1104 comments Mod
lol, I totally agree on the Royalist subplot!


message 23: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 1964 comments The one thing that I did like about the royalist subplot was the way it fizzled out. It reminded me of many times, especially in years gone way by, of great enthusiasms and plans that were just quietly pushed aside by life, not really regretted or much noticed, just petering out without any fanfare. So, the "failure" of it all made me smile.


message 24: by Hana (last edited Aug 19, 2018 03:12PM) (new)

Hana | 1104 comments Mod
Also the silliness of Jean Claude wrapping the flag about his middle under his evening dress was too funny. Not to mention everyone's clocks and watches seeming to be off time.


message 25: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 1964 comments I loved the flag under his coat! It was so earnest!


message 26: by Hana (new)

Hana | 1104 comments Mod
Also so dumb!


message 27: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 1964 comments Very dumb! I could just see him as a Disney character unwinding this huge flag and pirouetting his way down the dance floor...


message 28: by Hana (new)

Hana | 1104 comments Mod
Haha! I wonder if Jean Claude will be a charmer if he ever get over his spots :)


message 29: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 1964 comments Not if he follows in his mother's footsteps! 😁Maybe he'll stay friends with Martin and have some of his mother's know-it-all qualities rubbed off


message 30: by Jackie (new)

Jackie | 406 comments Karlyne wrote: "The one thing that I did like about the royalist subplot was the way it fizzled out. It reminded me of many times, especially in years gone way by, of great enthusiasms and plans that were just qui..."

yes, that was good, now that you mention it. like in life sometimes things just don't go.

I agree with you also, Karlyne, in message 12: when Mary saw John while she was in David's chaste embrace she realized she loved him after all and, of course, she didn't have any idea what to do about it. I suspect that as the years go by she will eventually be as big a ditz as Lady Emily!


message 31: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 1964 comments Jackie wrote: "Karlyne wrote: "The one thing that I did like about the royalist subplot was the way it fizzled out. It reminded me of many times, especially in years gone way by, of great enthusiasms and plans th..."

I wonder if, with John so intelligent and calm standing behind her, she'll manage to get a bit more practical! I hope so, anyway!


message 32: by Jackie (new)

Jackie | 406 comments that's a good point, perhaps once the extreme virginal shyness goes away she will bloom! we know she will enjoy motherhood, too.


message 33: by Hana (new)

Hana | 1104 comments Mod
Mary will be a wonderful mother but I doubt she'll ever be as air-headed as Lady Emily and Agnes. She'll also be a great addition to the extended family and will liven things up no end--more balls, all very well run, will be the order of the day. And when WWII arrives (as it will very soon) she'll Keep Calm and Carry On with the best of British goodwill and courage.


message 34: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 1964 comments Now that I think about Mary, all she really needs is a bit of her own. I think with the responsibility of looking after her very own family, she'll be able to make mature decisions about her life and be quite happy.


Christmas Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 1757 comments Mod
Karlyne wrote: "If anything dead turns up in any of my baskets, I'll need to be scraped off the ceiling! (I had mice in my planter boxes a few weeks ago and I did an admirable stationary hover for at least half a ..."

Hahahahaha!


Christmas Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 1757 comments Mod
I did enjoy this one so much more than High Rising. I laughed, & in one part I cried.

I'm thinking this is a 4★ read for me. Not just David's racist ditty, but even with all your wonderful explanations, The Romance just wasn't convincing. & Lady Agnes drove me mad. So I do have to knock a ★ off.


message 37: by Hana (last edited Aug 22, 2018 01:19PM) (new)

Hana | 1104 comments Mod
Carol ꧁꧂ wrote: "Karlyne wrote: "If anything dead turns up in any of my baskets, I'll need to be scraped off the ceiling! (I had mice in my planter boxes a few weeks ago and I did an admirable stationary hover for ..."

I'd rather have them dead than alive. A few springs ago I put up a patio umbrella on its stand and opened it over the picnic table and a nest and at least a dozen live mice fell out. I don't know who ran faster...me or the mice :D


Christmas Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 1757 comments Mod
Well, we are getting off topic but,

Our previous cat George was taken from his mother way too young. So he (fortunately) never learned to protect his territory & he never learned to hunt. But twice he managed to catch a baby mouse & brought it into our house. Same thing happened both times. I screamed (hate vermin!) George dropped the mouse with fright & it disappeared in to the house!


message 39: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 1964 comments Yes! Disney aside, there's nothing adorable about mice whatsoever! Tying this back in to Wild Strawberries, I would provide a nice funeral for a dead thrush, but not a mouse...


message 40: by Susan in NC (last edited Aug 22, 2018 02:05PM) (new)

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 1415 comments Karlyne wrote: "Yes! Disney aside, there's nothing adorable about mice whatsoever! Tying this back in to Wild Strawberries, I would provide a nice funeral for a dead thrush, but not a mouse..."

Fair enough...Disney-wise, though, I always loved the mice in Cinderella- so much so that when we adopted our two rescue mutts several years ago, I re-christened the little male “Gus” ( I don’t know why, he wasn’t chubby or daft like Gus-Gus the mouse in Cinderella, but something about him just seemed Gus-like to me!)


message 41: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 1964 comments I do a mean Gus-Gus impression... Well, the kids think it's good, anyway!


message 42: by Hana (last edited Aug 22, 2018 02:25PM) (new)

Hana | 1104 comments Mod
I actually like mice in real life...just not falling on my head! I'm also fond of rats. I know this is weird but I have a degree in biology and lab rats are really sweet creatures--very affectionate and smart--I just don't want them infesting my basement. Rabbits on the other hand...I still have a scar on my forearm where a New Zealand White Rabbit objected to my attempt to give it an inoculation in my grad school days. I've forgiven it but I don't think I got a top grade in the course.


message 43: by Hana (new)

Hana | 1104 comments Mod
Uh oh! I might be in trouble with Carol about my New Zealand rabbit comment ;)


message 44: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 1964 comments Hana wrote: "Uh oh! I might be in trouble with Carol about my New Zealand rabbit comment ;)"

Quick! Temper it with a "New Zealand sauvignon blanc is so lovely!"


message 45: by Hana (new)

Hana | 1104 comments Mod
It really is, Karlyne!


Christmas Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 1757 comments Mod
Hana wrote: "Uh oh! I might be in trouble with Carol about my New Zealand rabbit comment ;)"

No rabbits aren't native and are a massive pest in the South Island of NZ.


message 47: by Hana (new)

Hana | 1104 comments Mod
Huh. I have to find out about that nasty rabbit's parentage. A plague on all rabbits!


message 48: by Hana (new)

Hana | 1104 comments Mod
Except for The Tale of Peter Rabbit, of course.


message 49: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 1964 comments Beatrix Potter could make any animal seem attractive! We should include her in the Retro Children's section.


message 50: by Susan in NC (last edited Aug 22, 2018 03:34PM) (new)

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 1415 comments Hana wrote: "I actually like mice in real life...just not falling on my head! I'm also fond of rats. I know this is weird but I have a degree in biology and lab rats are really sweet creatures--very affectionat..."

I’ve heard that about rats, but must agree - don’t want to live with them!


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