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About the book
  • Published: 3 October 2011
  • ISBN: 9781446499153
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 464


A delightful tale of wartime romance and friendship

Set in wartime Highgate, Westwood tells the story of Margaret Steggles, a plain bookish girl whose mother has told her that she is 'not the type that attracts men'. What she lacks for in looks she makes up for with a romantic nature and cultural aspirations - she goes to concerts at the National Gallery and is a devotee of the modern drama. By contrast, Margaret's best friend Hilda has a sunny temperament and effortlessly attractive. Hilda's many "boys" are always "ever so cheery".

When Margaret finds a ration book in Hampstead Heath the playwright Gerard Challis enters both their lives. Challis is delighted with his own work and lines such as, 'Suffering is the anvil upon which the crystal sword of integrity is hammered'. He has no use for humour, 'he had more than once publicly and severely put it in its place (where, with Shakespeare and Jane Austen, it stayed).' Margaret slavishly adores Challis and his artistic circle; Challis idolises Hilda for her hair, her eyes and Hilda find's Gerard's romantic overtures a bit of a bind.

This is a delightfully wistful tale of romantic entanglements and self-reliance

  • Pub date: 3 October 2011
  • ISBN: 9781446499153
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 464

About the Author

Stella Gibbons

Stella Gibbons is best known for her comic masterpiece Cold Comfort Farm. A witty parody of the pastoral fiction written by authors such as D H Lawrence, Thomas Hardy and Mary Webb, it won the Prix Femina Vie Heureuse Anglais in 1933 and established her literary reputation. Gibbons also wrote 22 other novels, including Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm (1940) and Starlight (1967), as well as three volumes of short stories and four poetry collections. She died in 1989, aged 87.

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Praise for Westwood

“Gibbons was an acute and witty observer, and her dissection of the British class system is spot-on”

Mail on Sunday

“You show up a group of characters, all of whom are discontented and unhappy. Yet the feeling that comes through very powerfully is that life is wonderful, in spite of individual bitterness and frustration.”

Fan letter, Letter to Stella Gibbons from Henry Parris

“Stella Gibbons is the Jane Austen of the 20th century”

Lynne Truss

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