War arrives in rural Barsetshire.
'You read her, laughing, and want to do your best to protect her characters from any reality but their own' New York Times
It is summer 1939 and the social event of the year is about to take place: Rose Birkett, a flighty beauty with a penchant for breaking engagements and hearts, is finally getting married, and the whole village - especially her parents - breathes a sigh of relief.
By autumn, however, summer weddings seem a distant memory as war reaches Barsetshire. While the younger generation throws itself into the war effort with cheerful aplomb, older residents remember the last war keenly, and are fearful.
When an entire London school of evacuees arrive, as well as a number of refugees, the village rallies round to accommodate them. Some inhabitants, though, fail to welcome the newcomers with open arms.
First published in 1940, this is a humorous and poignant picture of wartime in a rural community.
Angela Thirkell (1890-1961) was the eldest daughter of John William Mackail, a Scottish classical scholar and civil servant, and Margaret Burne-Jones. Her relatives included the pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Burne-Jones, Rudyard Kipling and Stanley Baldwin, and her grandfather was J. M. Barrie. She was educated in London and Paris, and began publishing articles and stories in the 1920s. In 1931 she brought out her first book, a memoir entitled Three Houses, and in 1933 her comic novel High Rising - set in the fictional county of Barsetshire, borrowed from Trollope - met with great success. She went on to write nearly thirty Barsetshire novels, as well as several further works of fiction and non-fiction. She was twice married and had four children.