A New Challenge: Reading Thirkell’s Barsetshire Series in Order

Angela Thirkell

For a long time, I have been saying I was going to read Angela Thirkell’s Barsetshire series in order, but I just continue to pick them up randomly. I think there would be some benefit to reading them in order, because although each one seems to focus on different people and different plots, I’m sure I would better understand the relationships if I read them in order. So, I finally decided to do it and to announce it in case anyone wants to do it with me.

We’ll see how far we get along, as I understand that the post-war books are not as good as the others. I propose to announce each book at the beginning of the month and post its review at the end, starting in June. I would appreciate the company of anyone who wants to read along with me. I realize that for some people one book a month is a big commitment or even a difficult rate to read. However, there are lots of Barsetshire novels and to read one every two months would take this project five years into the future.

Since I have already posted reviews on a few of these books, I won’t repost my original reviews, but I will make comments on any insights I have gained since the last review. Even if you don’t want to go along with me, if you would like to jump in with comments on the books you have read or read one or two at the same time, any participation is appreciated.

Although I will post reminders of what the next book is, for now, here is the list:

  1. High Rising
  2. Wild Strawberries
  3. The Demon in the House
  4. August Folly
  5. Summer Half
  6. Pomfret Towers
  7. The Brandons
  8. Before Lunch
  9. Cheerfulness Breaks In
  10. Northbridge Rectory
  11. Marling Hall
  12. Growing Up
  13. The Headmistress
  14. Miss Bunting
  15. Peace Breaks Out
  16. Private Enterprise
  17. Love Among the Ruins
  18. The Old Bank House
  19. County Chronicle
  20. The Duke’s Daughter
  21. Happy Returns
  22. Jutland Cottage
  23. What Did It Mean?
  24. Enter Sir Robert
  25. Never Too Late
  26. A Double Affair
  27. Close Quarters
  28. Love at All Ages
  29. Three Score and Ten

So, if anyone wants to get a head start on June, the first book is obviously High Rising. I made a tag, #ThirkellBar, for those who want to use Twitter. I don’t.

16 thoughts on “A New Challenge: Reading Thirkell’s Barsetshire Series in Order

  1. Helen May 12, 2021 / 2:59 pm

    This sounds like an interesting project! I’ve never read anything by Angela Thirkell but High Rising is on my Classics Club list anyway, so I’ll see if I have time to read it in June.

  2. piningforthewest May 12, 2021 / 5:08 pm

    I started to read them all again in order a couple of years ago but have been stuck at Pomfret Towers since 2020. I’ll definitely join in with you from that one and maybe from the very beginning, depending on how busy I am.

    • whatmeread May 12, 2021 / 5:47 pm

      It would be great if you can find the time. Or course, it will take a while to get to Pomfret Towers.

  3. Davida Chazan May 13, 2021 / 10:10 am

    Well, that sounds ambitious! I’ve never read her books. Maybe I should!

  4. Simon T May 14, 2021 / 5:12 pm

    Oh how funny, I decided to start this this year too! I didn’t have a schedule in mind, but I finished High Rising recently. Wild Strawberries is actually one of the few I’ve already read, but many years ago so am intending to re-read. I am not sure I’ll keep pace with you, but might try!

  5. Yvonne May 15, 2021 / 6:37 pm

    I’ve also not read any of Thirkell’s books so would like to join in. No promises – but I have just placed High Rising on hold at the library in readiness 🙂

  6. Liz Dexter May 16, 2021 / 12:42 pm

    I’ve been doing this for a while but I will try to share thoughts and reviews as you go. I’m finishing with Peace Breaks Out, however, as I have heard so often the post-war ones are not so good, plus Virago hasn’t republished them so they’re a bit tricky to find. Have fun!

    • whatmeread May 17, 2021 / 11:20 am

      Thanks! I’d love for you to participate!

  7. Penelope Gough June 1, 2021 / 3:28 am

    I have not read any of her books and have just downloaded the first one. Two chapters in and it is really good. Would love to read with you.

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