Never Too Late by Angela Thirkell

Angela Thirkell seems to have been writing one book a year for quite a long time and by popular demand but this is the first time I’ve ever read two back to back in quick succession. It was just fortuitous that I could do it because it turned out that Never Too Late is a sequel to Enter Sir Robert which did end with quite a lot of ends hanging loosely.

So in Never Too Late we find out what happens to The Manor House, which had been used for some years as a bank, but was again in need of a new tenant. The inhabitants of the Wiple Terrace cottages appear, with their many bottles of booze. A lot of the not so young men of the county who had been involved in World War 2 and have bonded over their experiences in France come to the realisation that they should have got married a few years before, and Edith is probably too young for them. Even Mr Choyce, the vicar is on the look out for a suitable lady wife.

Captain Fairweather and his wilfully stupid wife, Rose Birkett as was, also turn up and it turns out that Rose has a wonderful social memory and can remember everyone she has ever met, which has been an immense help to her husband in his career, I knew she’d have to be useful for something!

Sir Robert hangs over the place like a shadow which never reaches human form, well almost never. Lord Stoke has his suspicions I think, as do I, but Agnes is happily oblivious to any blots in her marital life.

In amongst all this is the usual social observation and wit which you expect from a visit to Barsetshire and as there’s quite a lot of Mrs Morland too, it was a very enjoyable read.

2 thoughts on “Never Too Late by Angela Thirkell

  1. I think Rose redeems herself in Jutland Cottage, which is one of my favorites. I can’t remember this one at all, though – clearly time for a re-read. I’ve wondered if Sir Robert just prefers small doses of Agnes and his children- or am I just projecting? I can’t imagine that Lady Emily was an easy mother-in-law to have.

    • Lisa,
      I haven’t managed to buy Jutland Cottage yet, it always seems expensive. I don’t want one of those Moyer Bell books, I like the original hardbacks, I’m going to have to bite the bullet and buy one for about £10 at the cheapest I think. I think Agnes, six kids, Lady Emily and various servants would be a lot to cope with, I think he had a separate establishment in a neighbouring county, bunked up with a quiet younger woman, or maybe just took himself off to his London club for peace and quiet. My imagination goes for a wander at times. I have a similar theory about Lucia’s husband Peppino and his opera singer ‘friend’.

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