Finished Nightingale Wood by Stella Gibbons, author of the hilarious Cold Comfort Farm. Referred to as a fairytale, it’s much more than that. We see so many characters stuck in their various social ruts, but some of them break out of these with delightful consequences.
Recently widowed, former shopgirl Viola goes to live with her inlaws at The Eagles, a tomb of a house in Essex, where nothing ever happens. At the closest house, Grassmere, cocktail and boating parties are often taking place. The music from these drifts across the wood that separates the two establishments. Viola is enticed by the music and daydreams of someday being invited to one of the parties. Meanwhile, her two spinster sisters-in-law, Madge and Tina are busy trying to break the constraints of their father’s dull domain. Madge is a sportswoman who longs for a dog of her own to chum around with. Quiet, artistic Tina has a crush on the new chauffeur and longs to have him teach her to drive. All of these wishes are granted with surprising results, and the reader is reminded once again, that servants are the greatest snobs of all.
I had several laugh-out-loud moments, when people peered around corners at me to see what was so funny. This would be an excellent summer hammock read. Take it with you on vacation and enjoy!