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Ankle Deep

By Angela Thirkell

Fanny Turner is a crafty woman who “would have felt sentiment of an infuriated kind” if her family duties had ever interfered with her frenetic social life.

One weekend she invites Valentine Ensor, a divorced school friend of her husband Arthur, for a weekend, along with an older couple, the Howards, who bring along their daughter, the somewhat dour Aurea Palgrave.

Aurea is now married and living quite unhappily in Canada, but Arthur had once been in love with her.

The weekend is a somewhat predictable time of star-crossed love and slight misunderstandings that lead nowhere.

Fanny is quite forward, and although she is married claims that one should always carry on with several men at once because “If you only care for one you’ll always get hurt”.

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.

Angela Thirkell (1890-1961) wrote many works of fiction and non-fiction, including twenty-nine Barsetshire novels, which won her great popularity and acclaim. The first of these, High Rising, was published in 1933. Her relatives included Edward Burne-Jones, Rudyard Kipling and Stanley Baldwin, and her godfather was J M Barrie. She was twice married and had four children.


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