Summer Visits

For generations of readers, the English country house has lived as a character in its own right. One can immediately think of many examples—Bleak House, Mansfield Park, Howards End, Wuthering Heights, and the most recent being Downton Abbey—stories, faces, dramas, love and conflict all instantly flash into mind just based on the name of the roof that housed them.

Facelift

Margery Sharp was fashion conscious, but her manner of dress was quite neat and trim. In terms of style, I thought it was time for a new look on the blog; something more Rhododendron Pie than Fanfare for Tin Trumpets. Thought this would be appropriate in preparation for the season of Margery Appreciation Day over at…

Cluny Brown

‘When you rang up a plumber you didn’t expect—well, you didn’t expect Cluny.’ This delightful novel was first published in 1944, and quickly became one of Sharp’s most popular works. It represents a favorite theme she returned to often: what happens when the quirky misfit, the Unruly Element, the carefree original who just doesn’t fit any…

Harlequin House

This is a novel that must be considered in the light of the historical context. It was written in 1939; that brooding summer of gloom that immediately preceded Britain’s declaration of war on Germany. The British–and particularly Londoners–in the year preceding September, 1939, were beginning to prepare for air raids, evacuations, food shortages, and what…

Rosa, by Margery Sharp, Heinemann edition, 1969

Rosa

“My father was a very important person,” said Rosa. Once again Margery Sharp takes us on a sprightly tour through British cultural change. She gives us a bit of Victorian sentiment, a smattering of gauchos and revolution, an old English country house, a diverse assortment of characters who are both keepers of tradition and irreverent ‘thumb-your-nose-at-it’…

The Nymph and the Nobleman

‘It may be the moon had something to do with it.’ This novelette, like a Pavlova pastry, crisp on the outside, all soft and melting on the inside, goes well with an afternoon cup of tea and a sweet sprinkling of thoughtful reflections. One of the earliest of Sharp’s works, The Nymph and the Nobleman was later…