Seeing Mrs. Ethelburger, surrounded by her noisy family (as though there were not enough children about, there were photos of them all over the mantelpiece), people had wondered: hadn’t she rather thrown herself away?
Mrs. Ethelburger, who sat down when she wanted to think, had been classed as very intelligent when a girl, but seeing her in this ramshackle house, surrounded by her noisy family (as though there were not enough children about, there were photos of them all over the mantelpiece), people had wondered: hadn’t she rather thrown herself away?
Celia Buckmaster’s sharply funny, brilliantly characterized first novel revolves around two discontented wives. Mrs. Noyce, at the manor, is a painter whose husband cherishes her art and refuses to allow her to be domestic, but now finds herself yearning for motherhood. Mrs. Ethelburger, on the other hand, has four children, but has been escaping domestic drudgery by carrying on a half-hearted affair with a businessman. In and out of these plot strands are woven the stories of their neighbours—the Noyces’ gardener, whose wife trains her cats to do tricks in remembrance of her time in a circus; the Rector and his wife, who having married beneath her is taking revenge on the world by becoming a Communist; Mr. Browning, the object of Mrs. Ethelburger’s casual affections, and his mother, who frets because she can’t stop dropping her aitches; and Linda, the spoiled village girl who imagines Mr. Noyce is making advances.
Village Story is a deceptively simple tale, with subtle revelations of human nature and tragedy concealed beneath its witty surface.
‘Very funny in quite a new way’ John Betjeman
Publication Date: August 2020
ISBN: 978 1 913527 29 7 (paperback)/978 1 913527 30 3 (ebook)