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READING THE TBR, DAY 238: Excellent Women (1952) by Barbara Pym

Barbara Pym is an author I have long heard compared to Jane Austen, and it was due to this that I have been collecting her works whenever I happen upon them any time over the past decade or more. But have I read any of them yet? No. Pshaw. Why would I have done that?

But today — oh! I read this one. And it is just lovely.

Miss Mildred Lathbury is an unmarried woman in her thirties in 1950s London, in a world that is still recovering from the ravages of war. She is eminently respectable in every way, a stalwart in her church and kind friend to all. Into her small life comes new neighbours, Helena and Rockingham Napier, whose tempestuous relationship is forced upon her notice, even as she is charmed by the smooth, careless Rocky.

Amid the local clergyman’s romantic entanglements, the waspish tongue of Mildred’s oldest friend, a visit to the Anthropological Society and multiple encounters with a socially awkward maybe-suitor, the story unfolds with warmth and wit, Mildred’s often caustic inner-monologue often causing laughter, at other times cringe, at other times total empathy.

If this is an example of Pym’s literary calibre, then I believe the comparisons to Austen are fully justified.  


TBR DAY 238: Excellent Women by Barbara Pym
GENRE: Women’s Fiction
TIME ON THE TBR: 10 years.  
PURCHASED FROM: Dymocks Booksellers.
KEEP: Yes.

Published inTBR

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