Angela Thirkell, “Jutland Cottage”

I wasn’t kidding. If I want comfort reading, I know where to get it. Some of the post-war Thirkells get dyspeptic. The woman was a crashing snob and you’re almost embarrassed for her when she starts going on about the newly rich or the more dreaful manifestations of mid-century culture like slang or women in trousers. But Jutland Cottage is a rather sweet Cinderella story, and that’s always fun. Margot Phelps, the forty-year-old daughter of elderly and impoverished Admiral Phelps, works herself to the bone to support and care for her infirm parents. Thirkell much admires her courage and selflessness. A group of neighbors band together to ease Margot’s burden and to perform a kind of upper-class postwar English makeover which involves supplying her with a new tweed suit and a better “foundation belt” which sinister item is never clearly described but does a great deal to improve Margot’s looks. Once cleaned up, Margot finds love with a rich commercial gardener. That’s class mobility in Barsetshire.  Very soothing.

About carolwallace

I spend most of my time writing and reading. Most recent publications: the reissue of "To Marry an English Lord,"one of the inspirations for "Downton Abbey," and the historical novel "Leaving Van Gogh." I am too cranky to belong to a book group but I love the book-blogging community.
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