Escapist Comfort Reads – Our Favourites
Escape into another world with three of our favourite bestselling ‘comfort’ reads:
- The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim
- Jane and Prudence by Barbara Pym
- Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor
This book bundle comes beautifully wrapped at no additional charge. Unless you specify otherwise on purchase, all three books will be wrapped as one package in Christmas-themed paper.
The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim
Mrs Wilkins and Mrs Arbuthnot, cowed and neglected by their husbands, make a daring plan: they will have a holiday. Leaving a drab and rainy London one April and arriving on the shores of the Mediterranean, they discover a flower-filled paradise of beauty, warmth and leisure. Joined by the beautiful Lady Caroline and domineering Mrs Fisher, also in flight from the burdens of their daily lives, the four women proceed to transform themselves and their prospects.
‘Four women come together to rent an Italian castle for the month of April in this utterly charming novel of lives transformed. A truly delightful book!’ Jacqui – Manager, Gerrards Cross
Jane and Prudence by Barbara Pym
The setting of this very funny novel, one of Barbara Pym’s earliest, is an English village where Jane’s husband is the newly appointed vicar, and where Prudence will pay Jane a visit and find herself courted by a fatuous young widower. Prudence, at twenty-nine, has achieved nothing in life but a dull research job in London and a string of dud affairs; Jane, now in her forties, was Prudence’s tutor at Oxford.
Jane cheerfully concedes that she is an incompetent housewife, but she hopes that the move to a rural parish may transform her into a classic vicar’s wife, as well as a crafty matchmaker.
‘Over the years, as Barbara Pym replaced Nancy Mitford, Georgette Heyer, even Jane Austen, as my most loved author, I devoured all her books, but Jane and Prudence remains my favourite. Even an umpteenth reading this weekend was punctuated by gasps of joy, laughter and wonder that this lovely book should remain so fresh, funny and true to life’. Jilly Cooper
Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor
On a rainy Sunday in January, the recently widowed Mrs Palfrey arrives at the Claremont Hotel where she will spend her remaining days. Her fellow residents are magnificently eccentric and endlessly curious, living off crumbs of affection and snippets of gossip. Together, upper lips stiffened, they fight off their twin enemies: boredom and the Grim Reaper.
Then one day Mrs Palfrey strikes up an unlikely friendship with an impoverished young writer, Ludo, who sees her as inspiration for his novel. ‘Elizabeth Taylor’s exquisitely drawn character study of eccentricity in old age is a sharp and witty portrait of genteel postwar English life facing the changes taking shape in the 60s.
Named by the Guardian as one of ‘the 100 best novels,’ and shortlisted for the Booker Prize, Mrs Palfrey At The Claremont is a humorous and compassionate look at friendship between an old woman and a young man from a wonderful writer.
‘Much of the reader’s joy lies in the exquisite subtlety in Taylor’s depiction of all the relationships, the sharp brevity of her wit, and the apparently effortless way the plot unfolds’. Robert McCrum ‘the 100 best novels’, Guardian
4 in stock (can be backordered)