The Foolish Gentlewoman
She had adored her husband, and was very fond of her French pepper-mill.
Sentimental, affectionate, uncritical, Mrs. Bracken so easily attached herself to persons, places, and even objects that after no more than two days in an hotel she had a favourite waiter, a favourite ornament, a favourite view. She had adored her husband, and was very fond of her French pepper-mill.
World War II has ended and widowed Isabel Brocken, kind-hearted and generous if perhaps just a bit foolish, is back in her old family home on the outskirts of London, accompanied by her friend Jacky, just out of the ATS, and her newly-demobilized nephew Humphrey. They're soon joined by Isabel's surly brother-in-law Simon, who has decidedly mixed feelings about her but whose own home is under repair for bomb damage. Into this uneasy mix comes Tilly Cuff, a poor relation to whom Isabel has been inspired—by a rare church venture and a particularly inspiring sermon—to make amends for having, many years before, sabotaged her one chance at romance.
When Tilly proves manipulative and even 'malevolent', the happiness of Isabel's household is threatened. And where the story goes from there is pure unexpected delight. In The Foolish Gentlewoman, Margery Sharp provides us a thoughtful, funny, and terrifically entertaining slice of British life in the immediate aftermath of war.
‘Miss Margery Sharp has a sure-fire way of telling a story and a genius for writing dialogue - crisp, in the comic vein, yet able to carry the shadow of deeper feeling.’ Elizabeth Bowen
Publication Date: January 2021
ISBN: 978 1 913527 71 6 (paperback)/978 1 913527 72 3 (ebook)