Written with all the charm and wit that are the signature of Thirkell's Barsetshire series, Growing Up is a heartwarming portrait of a close-knit community during the Second World War.
'Charming, very funny indeed. Angela Thirkell is perhaps the most Pym-like of any twentieth-century author, after Pym herself' Alexander McCall Smith
It is wartime in Barsetshire, and so much has changed. Belier's Priory is now a hospital for wounded soldiers, and Sir Harry and Lady Waring have moved to the servants' quarters, where they make the best of it - so much more practical than the large, draughty house! Soon, their niece Leslie, who has a hush-hush job with the navy, comes to recuperate: her nerves are frayed from overwork and a close call with a torpedo.
When the Warings are then asked to house an intelligence officer and his wife, they reluctantly agree. They cannot know what a much-needed tonic Noel and Lydia Merton will prove to be. With the Priory being both the Waring residence and the army hospital, it becomes the hub of activity for all of Barsetshire.
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.