Friday, July 29, 2022

Review: Summer Half, by Angela Thirkell


Summer Half, by Angela Thirkell (1937; this edition 2014 by Virago Modern Classics)

Colin Keith is training to be a barrister but decides to try his hand at teaching in this entry into Angela Thirkell's Barsetshire series. He feels badly about being financially dependent on his father and takes a job as a schoolmaster to experience independence. The opening chapter, when Colin tries to tell his family about his decision, and they one by one ignore him in favor of their own self-absorbed interests, is everything I love about Angela Thirkell's writing. All of her wit and subtlety are on display here and in the rest of this delightful light read.

Colin is surrounded his sisters- tomboy Lydia and sweet Kate- his parents and his friends Phillip, Noel and Everard. Noel has been corresponding with Kate; Phillip, Colin's fellow teacher, is engaged to the beautiful idiot Rose, daughter of the head of their school. And then there's Everard, another teacher, who is crushing hard on Kate but convinced that she's all but engaged to Noel, who, as it turns out, is not the marrying kind. (Barsetshire fans will also note the presence of Tony Morland, met previously in The Demon in House, no longer the Dennis the Menace of the English countryside but now a student at the school where the men teach.) 

This was so much fun to read. Everything turns out the way it should; everyone ends up where they are supposed to be and with the people they should be with. Thirkell gives us just the right smidge of suspense and dramatic irony to keep us reading but the endings are never really in doubt. Her lovely luminous writing and subtle insights make it all come to life so very enjoyably.

I wait too long in between these books. This was a fine entry in the series.

I did not receive this book for review.

No comments: