WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY LYNNE TRUSS
'Stella Gibbons is the Jane Austen of the twentieth century' The Times
Set in wartime London, Westwood tells the story of Margaret Steggles, a plain bookish girl whose mother has told her that she is not the type that attracts men. Her schoolfriend Hilda has a sunny temperament and keeps her service boys 'ever so cheery'. When Margaret finds a ration book on Hampstead Heath the pompous writer Gerard Challis enters both their lives. Margaret slavishly adores Challis and his artistic circle; Challis idolises Hilda for her hair and her eyes and Hilda finds Gerard's romantic overtures a bit of a bind. This is a delightfully comic and wistful tale of love and longing.
Westwood captures the heart, right from its opening pages… as an account of what it was like to be an ordinary young woman in wartime London - no stockings, no chocolate, no men - it can hardly be bettered. How did it, I wonder, evade fresh new soft covers for so long?
A wartime masterpiece
Stella Gibbons is the Jane Austen of the 20th century
Gibbons was an acute and witty observer, and her dissection of the British class system is spot-on
You show up a group of characters, all of whom are discontented and unhappy. Yet the feeling that comes through very powerfully is that life is wonderful, in spite of individual bitterness and frustration.
It might not be snowing yet, and you may have to work until the 24th, but you can still get into the festive spirit early with our selection of Christmas and holiday-related reads.