‘I’m a huge fan of Barbara Pym’ RICHARD OSMAN’One of the most endearingly amusing English novels of the twentieth century’ ALEXANDER McCALL SMITHMildred Lathbury is one of those ‘excellent women’ who is often taken for granted.
She is a godsend, ‘capable of dealing with most of the stock situations of life – birth, marriage, death, the successful jumble sales, the garden fete spoilt by bad weather’. As such, she often gets herself embroiled in other people’s lives – especially those of her glamorous new neighbours, the Napiers, whose marriage seems to be on the rocks.
One cannot take sides in these matters, though it is tricky, especially as Mildred, teetering on the edge of spinsterhood, has a soft spot for dashing young Rockingham Napier.
This is Barbara Pym’s world at its funniest and most touching. ‘I pick up her books with joy, as though I were meeting an old, dear friend who comforts me, extends my vision and makes me roar with laughter’ Jilly Cooper