A sly and satirical fairytale by the author of Cold Comfort Farm
Unavailable for decades, Stella Gibbons's Nightingale Wood is a delightfully modern romance ripe for rediscovery by the many fans of Cold Comfort Farm.
Poor, lovely Viola has been left penniless and alone after her late husband's demise, and is forced to live with his family in their joyless home. Its occupants are nearly insufferable: Mr. Withers is a tyrannical old miser; Mrs. Withers dismisses her as a common shop girl; and Viola's sisters-in-law, Madge and Tina, are too preoccupied with their own troubles to give her much thought. Only the prospect of the upcoming charity ball can lift her spirits-especially as Victor Spring, the local prince charming, will be there. But Victor's intentions towards the young widow are, in short, not quite honorable.
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Stella Dorothea Gibbons, novelist, poet and short-story writer, was born in London in 1902. She went to the North London Collegiate School and studied journalism at University College, London. She then worked for ten years on various papers, including the Evening Standard.
Her first publication was a book of poems The Mountain Beast (1930) and her first novel Cold Comfort Farm (1932) won the Femina Vie Heuruse Prize for 1933. Amongst her other novels are Miss Linsey and Pa (1936), Nightingale Wood (1938), Westwood (1946), Conference at Cold Comfort Farm (1959) and Beside the Pearly Water (1954). Her Collected Poems appeared in 1950.
In 1933 she married the actor and singer Allan Webb, who died in 1959. They had one daughter. Stella Gibbons died in 1989.Review:
NIGHTINGALE WOOD is in essence, a sprawling, delightful, eccentric fairy tale ... There is romance galore, a transformative dress, and a ball, much dizzy kissing in hedgerows and beyond, spying, retribution and runaways, fights and a fire, poetry and heartbreak, a few weddings AND funerals, and a fairytale ending with a twist. What luxury to stumble upon this quirky book, and the fascinating modern woman who wrote it. It is a rare unadulterated pleasure and high time for its encore Sophie Dahl
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