The lovely Jane at Beyond Eden Rock runs a celebration of Margery Sharp’s birthday every year on 25 January. Last year, I missed the date by one day, and I was so determined not to do the same this year that this was actually the very first book I read in 2017 (did I write this up then, at my leisure? Did I ‘eck – here I am, frantically typing late on the 24th …). Margery Sharp is an excellent writer and I am very pleased to read her in fact more than once per year. And as you can see from the picture to the left, Open Road Media have republished 10 of her novels in e-book form, which makes them a lot easier to get hold of.
Margery Sharp – “The Flowering Thorn”
(21 December 2016, e-book)
A charming, funny and rather moving novel. Socialite Lesley Frewen decides on a whim to adopt the orphaned Patrick, a somewhat stolid child, much to the surprise and horror of her relatives and somewhat vapid friends. This precipitates a move to the country, and all the travails that come with this – although it’s noteworthy that she always has Help.
Lesley starts, however unwillingly, to slot into village life, with the vicar who’s once horribly ignored by a shrieking house party of hers turning out to be a solid ally. She can’t help but be drawn into the small but very real dramas of motherhood and marriages that permeate throughout the village, but realises that community rather than society can be a good thing.
It’s quite remarkable that Lesley is never really shown as actually liking Patrick, and indeed her benign neglect and lack of fuss is praised as being the right way to raise a child; however, their relationship is sweet and well-drawn, and Lesley’s reactions to the situations village life throws herself into – whether that’s sick vicarage children or a woman in trouble – are funny and believable.
But how will Lesley act when the boy goes off to school and she’s free to live her socialite lifestyle again? Will she lean towards the genuine American friends and the nice people she meets at her first party back in the mix, or return to the shriekers? A lovely read and thank you again, Jane, for reminding us of this fine author.