Another wonderful book by Ms. Sharp and I'm left wondering why I don't only read her books. (Yes, I know the answer: there'll be no more once I'm done, so space them out.) She is just the perfect author. This is my third of hers; I have yet on my bookshelf: Britannia Mews and The Stone of Chastity.
Spoilers down there:
This one has an English country home, staff below stairs, a chemist's, a labrador, parlor-maids, a Pole, even mention of Nazis and the RAF. Everything one would want in good Brit-lit. And Cluny Brown. Cluny, short for Clover, as if that weren't evident. (What is it about Anglophones and their inexplicable nicknames: Jack for John; Betty for Elizabeth?) Cluny is the ingenue, but not annoying like Holly Golightly (although Capote did proffer quite the competition to Sharp in the naming department). Don't get me wrong, I liked Breakfast at Tiffany's, at least I remember liking it; I read it maybe 15 or more years ago. And I love Audrey Hepburn, but it's not about who played the ingenues in the movies, but the characters in the books, and I'll take Cluny over Holly any day.
I haven't seen the Cluny Brown movie yet.
People keep asking Cluny what she's all about, what she's going to do with her life, what's her deal. She doesn't know, and her uncle, in loco parentis, decides for her, which is what brings her into service in the country. She has no liking for the job, but does it to the best of her ability, because that's what uncle Arn asks of her. She cherishes her Wednesday afternoons off, romps with the dog, and eventually walks with the chemist.
There's much else going on in the country, to include an heir trying to decide his future, a Pole writing a book and falling in love left and right, and a peer (or not) wishing for the old days. But all this pales in what fate has in store for Cluny. With a marriage proposal virtually on the front step, hours away, she makes a rash decision which, in the end, seems to come out alright.
Spoilers, alas, complete.
I loved this book, and read its 270 pages quickly; of course, bacterial conjunctivitis keeping one away from work gives one plenty of time to read. Onward!
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