Angela Thirkell

When we went up to Moffat to the D E Stevenson event a few weeks ago I was chatting to a fellow "Dessie" and the novels of Angela Thirkell were mentioned (by me, of course!)

It's been years since I've read any Thirkell novels but talking about the books made me fancy a bit of a re-read. I'm really lucky to have a complete collection of all the books, including the majority as first editions with lovely dustwrappers! I bought most of them years ago, before they became as collectible, and expensive, as they are now. However, I couldn't resist treating myself to the lovely Virago reprints of High Rising and Wild Strawberries, with introductions by another favourite author, Alexander McCall Smith. The covers are just so beautiful and conjure up the world of Thirkell and are so evocative of the 1930s.

So, last week I started reading High Rising and I loved it. It's such a lovely book with wonderful characters. I'd forgotten how much I loved Laura Morland and I laughed uproariously at her maid, Stoker's, excellent comments and forthright wit. Thirkell created an amazing cast of characters in a wonderful setting. I love the way in which she uses Anthony Troloppe's Barsetshire and crazy placenames like the village called Winter Overcotes!

The novels are incredibly politically incorrect and conjure up the years before the Second World War which are so hard to imagine today. They are about picnics, railway journeys, country houses and love affairs. Nothing happens in them and yet a great deal happens. They are about the everyday things we all worry about and care about. They are exhilirating and restful at the same time.

So, I'm hooked!! Having finished High Rising I'm now reading The Demon in the House,the sequel to High Rising, which has Tony Morland as its main character.

Not sure whether I'll continue to read the novels in sequence, something I've never done. Or, if I'll just read whichever takes my fancy. Whatever I do it's sure to be "such fun!"