Ankle Deep by Angela Thirkell

Angela in 1914

This was my first Angela Thirkell book and I was really looking forward to it. Ankle Deep, written in 1933, is one of her first books, semi-autobiographical and not part of the series set in Trollope’s mythical county of Barsetshire. I did not really care for this book. I could not endear myself to one single character. In fact I fairly disliked most of them. Aurea was probably the most likable (and I would presume the character based on Angela herself). There was much humor in the book which I did enjoy and so I will give her one more go, I’ll try the Barsetshire books. I have August Folly on my bookshelf. 

From the back of the book: ‘With characteristic civility and sophistication, the author welcomes us into her fictional stretch of English countryside, a magical landscape spirited with good people going about the business of life, irresistibly entertaining in their determination to misunderstand each other. In this case, the charming round of infatuations, endearments, and delightfully comic cross-purposes is set spinning by Fanny Turner, whose favorite pastime is endeavoring to provide “a succession of possible brides” for her husband’s former schoolfriend, the charming, if not especially eligible. Valentine Ensor. Fanny’s exuberant, misguided attempts at matchmaking produce a dizzying tangle of romantic mishaps when holiday guests show up with an attractive and very married daughter in tow. Thirkell’s stylish prose and generous, yet acutely observant comedy offers a feast of reading that is cultivated, nourishing, refreshing, and restorative.’ 

You can stop over at Pining for the West and read Katrina’s review of the book for another viewpoint! 

Thirkell comes from a line of famous people, Grandfather was pre- raphaelite painter Sir Edward Burne-Jones, brother Denis Mackail was a novelist (‘Greenery Street’ has been re-published by Persephone Books), first cousins with Rudyard Kipling and Stanley Baldwin-Prime Minister, and her god-father was J.M. Barrie, author of Peter Pan.

Here is a wonderful list of all of Thirkell’s books designed to print off and carry with you for easy reference when shopping. And here is a nice page about her life.

I’m hoping I enjoy August Folly more and will want to read more of her.