Well, I am writing this a day late, but I read 19 of this book’s 25 chapters yesterday, which was still inside Kaggsy and Simon‘s 1920 club week! I was alerted to this book by my dear friend Heaven-Ali (miss you! Waves!) who reviewed it earlier last week – I found a Kindle collection for less than a pound and it’s lovely to know I have four more of her books to read, too!

Ali points out in her review that lovers of D.E. Stevenson will like O. Douglas, and the comparison is apt, as it felt very Stevenson-esque in the lovely picturesque Scottish setting, the gentle and attractive characters and the gentle humour.

O. Douglas – “Penny Plain”

(17 April 2020 – ebook)

A charming novel. Jean and her brothers plus one “extra” who came to them by convoluted association, live in cheerful simplicity but slightly concerning poverty in the village of Priorsford. Moving towards them on the train from Euston are two people who will change their fates – Peter Reid, an elderly businessman who has neglected all other sides of life and who’s just had bad news about his health but finds himself unable to bring himself to throw them out of the house he actually owns once he meets them, and the Honourable Pamela, shockingly 40 and with a heart of gold, who is escaping the ‘good’ marriage she should be making to visit the place her old love Lewis spoke of with such love. Add in the neighbours, some nice, some comedic, some sharp social observation and some points about marriage and gender (including the observation that it’s best to let people be who they want to be, some not wanting to be ‘tuppence coloured’) and some comic servants, but also a leavening of sorrow and sadness running through the community, which comes from the date this book was published, I think, and you have a very satisfying read, not all light, but with some depth. You do kind of know what’s going to happen, but watching the careful unwinding of how it’s going to happen while reading about a lovely community is most entertaining. I’m very glad I got to read this!

Next up is a Paul Magrs, and continuing with the excellent “Hidden Figures”. My fiction is pulling strongly ahead of my non-fiction numbers, which I shall need to address soon!