Lemonade or port ? That this delicious dilemma is of such importance in Angela Thirkell's NEVER TOO LATE - it is the subject of a spirited exchange among the guests when Lord Stoke convenes a luncheon at Rising Castle - is just one indication of how right things are with the world in this installment of the author's beloved Barsetshire chronicles.
The foment of the 1940's - the terrors of the war and the immediate political and economical stresses of its aftermath - have passed, a new Queen has settled down upon her throne, and the inhabitants of Thirkell's fictional stretch of the countryside are content to concentrate on the conversation of their community.
A whirl of teas and tete-a-tetes, social calls and dinner parties, cricket games and chance meetings provide the narrative energy for the progress of friendship and gossip that Thirkell always charts, and devoted readers of her earlier books will be delighted to discover that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Angela Thirkell, granddaughter of pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Burne-Jones, was born in London in 1890. Related to Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, cousin to Rudyard Kipling, mother of Colin Maclnnes and Graham Mclnnes, Thirkell was one of the most famous comic novelists of her day. She died in 1961 just before her seventy-first birthday.
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