Reading Thirkell’s Barsetshire Series in Order: #19 County Chronicle + #18 The Old Bank House Wrap-Up

I think I have lost all my other readers from one reason or another, but I persist. If you happened to read any of the books coming up, don’t hesitate to make comments. I hope to have some steadfast commenters. I am still enjoying these books—in fact, The Old Bank House was one of my favorites—and don’t quite understand yet why her post-war ones aren’t considered as good (although I have recollections of one coming up about an election that wasn’t as interesting). As of now, there are only 11 more books in the series.

Thanks to the people who continue to participate:

  • Liz Dexter
  • Historical Fiction Is Fiction
  • Yvonne of A Darn Good Read

Our next book is County Chronicle. I will be reviewing it Friday, December 30, so if you have read it, or want to read along, please join me.

And here’s our little badge.


8 thoughts on “Reading Thirkell’s Barsetshire Series in Order: #19 County Chronicle + #18 The Old Bank House Wrap-Up

  1. historicalfictionisfiction December 7, 2022 / 1:37 pm

    For some reason, I lost contact with your website about six weeks ago. Your posts just returned a couple of days ago. So glad. . .

    I did read Love Among the Ruins, and I appreciate it for the view of the times it presents. I especially appreciated the Pig Breeders Assn “do”—brought to mind P. G. Wodehouse’s Empress of Blandings’ series. . .

    Three things annoyed me, though:

    The constant negativity of the middle class folks toward the village folks. Honestly, you’d think the middle classers never had children out of wedlock, or that all the village lassies had their children by every wandering soldier and minstrel that came along. (Nary a mention of the goings-on of the upper classes. . .)
    Failed to find the comments about the lack of mental ability in the villagers’ kids funny.
    The constant harping on getting/being married being the only worthwhile condition for a woman. (Yeah, I know this is a ridiculous comment, considering that these books are romances. . .)

    These were very prevalent attitudes at the time, not only there, but here as well. And I’m quite sure that there are still plenty of people who see nothing contradictory or negative about these attitudes—more’s the pity.

    I’ll be reading the next two (three?) books before the end of December. I certainly hope there’s more to them. Maybe I need to read them farther apart. OTH, I don’t have any feelings of nostalgia for the “good ol’ days;” so maybe I don’t have the right frame of mind. But it might also be that Thirkell seems to be recycling characters and plot devices, so that the later books don’t seem as fresh and funny as the first books.


    • whatmeread December 7, 2022 / 6:13 pm

      She does recycle characters and plot devices, but I got attached to the characters that recur, so I like finding out what happens to them. As for the villagers, or poorer people in general, I think at the time and with her audience, they would just have been considered funny. It does get a little tiresome at times, but at other times the servants and villagers are quite funny, and it’s not always a humor that’s against them. I try not to judge older books by current standards.

  2. Yvonne December 8, 2022 / 4:27 am

    I haven’t given up, but I’m way behind. I’m still reading The Headmistress!

    • whatmeread December 8, 2022 / 11:09 am

      I’m glad you’re still going!

  3. Liz Dexter December 11, 2022 / 3:02 am

    I’m still really interested in reading your reviews and seeing what happens to the characters. The “funny foreigners” and the massive snobbery do wear me down a bit but you’re right, the amusing poor people do get the upper hand sometimes and there are enough sympathetic characters to balance it out.

    • whatmeread December 11, 2022 / 11:42 am

      There haven’t been any foreigners in a while except Gradka made a reappearance, and they keep mentioning the Mixo-Lydians.

      • Liz Dexter December 11, 2022 / 12:52 pm

        Oh that’s interesting. I can’t remember who told me they decline in quality after the war; I’m definitely going to keep a lookout though I have passed my beginning of series to end of war set on to another reader (they took up too much space and I knew I probably wouldn’t re-read them and she is delighted!).

      • whatmeread December 11, 2022 / 3:11 pm

        Virago seems to have made that decision by not publishing any of the post-war books.

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