Uprooted from war-torn London, Alda Lucie-Brown and her three daughters start a new life at Pine Cottage in rural Sussex. Unsuited to a quiet life, Alda attempts to orchestrate - with varying degrees of success - the love affairs of her neighbours. Her unwilling subjects include an Italian POW, a Communist field-hand, a battery-chicken farmer and her intelligent friend Jean.
Her character drawing is perfection, and her sense of fun too subtle to permit quotation
Chipper is the word: Gibbons's heroines are plucky, determined and quietly hedonistic. But she can do melancholy with the best of them, too, not to mention melodrama
Stella Gibbons…an exception to that old canard: women can't make us laugh
The Jane Austen of the 20th century
Stella is stellar
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.