Marling Hall

By Angela ThirkellKNOPF
No book by Angela Thirkell needs a long review nowadays. Her place as the most entertaining English novelist of today is secure. She has created a comedy world of her own which is as much an entity as the world of Jane Austen or of P. G. Wodehouse. It stands somewhere between these two, lacking the solidity of the social satire of the one, but possessing far more human reality and a wit much less purely verbal than the other. Her setting is always the same — the world of rural England with its “county” families and their dependents, its well-to-do gentry, its clergy, its villagers, and its animals. Marling Hall is “the mixture as before.” There is the usual group of varied young people, now all engaged in various kinds of war work; the usual group of slightly fatuous older people; and rather too many small children. These are looked after by Nannies and governesses, who approve of the social system as devoutly as their employers, and appear, in this book at least, to be as untouched by any vision of a new world as the children they so efficiently keep in order. The book is full of amusing episodes and clearly sketched characters, with just enough plot to ruffle the course of true love, without for a moment endangering a happy solution for everyone concerned. E. D.