Church Ladies

While reading the last book I reviewed by Burden, I came across the name of this book and decided to read it. Excellent Women by Barbara Pym, a British author, was written in 1952 and again, I felt happy to take it home from the library for a read believing it had probably been sitting on the shelf for a very long time without being read.

This is a fictional story told by an English spinster – an old term not often used in our time.  The main character, Mildred Lathbury, the daughter of a deceased clergy couple, lives a well-ordered, dull life until new neighbors move into the flat downstairs.  Somehow, their life becomes her own and chaos ensues.  Mildred likes to nose about in other people’s business as she has no life of her own apart from volunteer work and hanging out at the local rectory.

I enjoyed reading the novel.  British lingo from that era is so cute!  Someone is always putting a kettle on for tea and I felt transported not only to another place, but a time when life was easier.  Written in the aftermath of WWII, the book portrays the lives of people who have been through much and are trying to piece their lives together once again.  If only Mildred would mind her own business.

This book is worth reading if only for the historical aspect of it.  There are a number of beautiful quotes in the book which I will add to my  quote journal.  One in particular – “Better by far you should forget and smile, Than that you should remember and be sad…”  This is from a poem by Christina Rosetti. I have a book about Rosetti which I must now read!  The touching quote made me want to know more about her and her work.

Pym wrote a number of books and I think I will add her novels to future reading potential.


About dianeledet

Professional Writing Consultant, Graduate of DePaul University School for New Learning 2008
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1 Response to Church Ladies

  1. Joan Mommsen says:

    One good book leads to another!

    I am enjoying traveling through Europe with all your great book finds.

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