Review 1836: Rhododendron Pie

Ann Laventie comes from an artistic and elegant family, all of whom are witty and have excellent taste. All, that is, except for Ann, who thinks they are wonderful but likes ordinary things and people. While her family disdains their solid Sussex neighbors and stays away from them, she likes them, especially the large and noisy Gayford family. Still, she feels she must be at fault.

A young film maker, Gilbert Croy, comes to stay and pays Ann a lot of attention. After Ann’s sister Elizabeth moves to London, Ann goes to visit her, convinced that she is in love with Croy and determined to come back engaged. But once in London, she begins to notice things. Her brother Dick’s sculptures, for example, all look alike. She absolutely adores a girl that everyone in her siblings’ group of friends shuns.

Rhododendron Pie is Margery Sharp’s first novel, and it’s quite funny as it explores the bohemian world of her upbringing versus the more mundane. Ann is an appealing heroine, and frankly I liked the Gayfords a lot better than the Laventies, especially in their reaction to Ann’s engagement. Her mother, though, an invalid who is mostly just a presence in the novel, gives a wonderful speech at the end. A fun one from Margery Sharp. I’m glad to have read it for my Classics Club list.

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8 thoughts on “Review 1836: Rhododendron Pie

  1. historicalfictionisfiction April 14, 2022 / 12:35 pm

    Sounds like it’s perfect for this afternoon! Our book club just had a very dynamic, exhausting discussion of “Red at the Bone” by Jacqueline Woodson and I’m looking for something with little drama. I enjoy Margery Sharp, and this one’s been in my Kindle for awhile now.

  2. Janakay | YouMightAsWellRead April 14, 2022 / 8:48 pm

    I read this, quite by chance, a couple of years ago. I’d never heard of Margery Sharp, didn’t really expect much and — absolutely loved it! As you noted, it’s very, very funny, well written and perfect for an afternoon’s entertainment.

  3. historicalfictionisfiction April 15, 2022 / 6:35 am

    Read it last night. Absolutely delightful: a quotable line on almost every page. And you’re right, the mother’s output near the end of the book was wonderful. Hooray for the small everyday wonders!!!!And–Sharp did it in 250 pages. . .

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