Cold Comfort Farm

Cold Comfort Farm (Stella Gibbons)

“‘Well—what kind of books does he write?’ she asked.

‘He’s doin’ one now about another young fellow who wrote books, and then his sisters pretended they wrote them, and they all died of consumption, poor young mommets.’

‘Ha! A life of Branwell Brontë,’ thought Flora. ‘I might have known it. There has been increasing discontent among the male intellectuals for some time at the thought that a woman wrote Wuthering Heights. I thought one of them would produce something of the kind, sooner or later. Well, I must just avoid him, that’s all” (75-6).

Oh, how I laughed! Gibbons’s 1932 send-up of the rural melodrama is a treasure and not to be missed—I’m only sorry it took me this long to get around to reading it! In this short novel, the young socialite Flora Poste sets out for her distant relations’ Sussex Farm and, upon arriving, determines—come hell or high water—to put everyone and everything in order. And so she does, from making matches and arranging film auditions to setting the bull loose and insisting the curtains be washed. Flora is a delight, as is her no-nonsense attitude and her deft handling of the silly Mr Mybug, who insists that the Brontës were frauds. You can polish Cold Comfort off in an evening or two, so check it out!


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