Every now and then I need to take a break from murder mysteries (and the daily news!) and O. Douglas’ books are just the ticket for that! Her books are humorous domestic dramas full of good, scrupulous people who “live on the bright side of life”.They are set in her homeland of Scotland and portray simple village life.
‘Priorsford’ was written in 1932 and is a return to characters introduced in her 1920 novel ‘Penny Plain’. It was a joy to revisit these wonderful people and their village of Priorsford.
To set the stage, in ‘Penny Plain’ we have sweet, selfless Jean Jardine, raising her 2 younger brothers and a ward, Mhor. They are not penniless, but there is not a lot to go around. Jean meets and marries Lord Bidborough and inherits a lot of money from a man she was kind to once and her life is changed forever. Will it change who Jean is? See my review of this book here
‘Priorsford’ starts 9 years later. Jean and Biddy live in England at his family estate, Mintern Abbas. They have 3 children. Jean has a busy life with her children, all the duties expected of her as Lady Bidborough and working with her assistant to utilize her inheritance to help people in need. Biddy has decided to go on a voyage with his close friend from the war to help him recuperate from a serious illness and it is decided that Jean and the children would return to her home in Priorsford for the duration of his absence. Catching up with Mrs. Hope, the Miss Watsons, Mrs. Jowett and all the others was great fun. Mhor’s escapades are always a treat. And we have a new puppy, Black Douglas, to fall in love with. In this novel we also have a bit of a mystery! Homes in Priorsford are being burgled! Isn’t that a delicious word? We say robbed in America, I much prefer burgled. You may find her books a little too saccharin for your taste, but if you need a break from all the murders, politics, and self focus world of today I recommend a trip to the world of O. Douglas.
‘It was high summer in the Cotswold country, and the old house of Mintern Abbas dozed in the peace of the August afternoon.’
O. Douglas bibliography:
Olivia in India (1912) ebook
The Setons (1917) ebook
Penny Plain (1920) ebook
Ann and Her Mother (1922)
Pink Sugar (1924)
The Proper Place (1926)
Eliza For Common (1928)
The Day of Small Things (1930)
Taken By The Hand (1935)
Jane’s Parlour (1937)
People Like Ourselves (1938)
The House that is Our Own (1940)
Unforgettable, Unforgotten (1945)
Farewell to Priorsford (1950) Her autobiography written posthumously
I’ve read & own the ones in red and own the ones in purple, yet to read!
Info about O. Douglas here
Three of her novels are available in ebook format for free at Project Gutenberg