Thursday, May 19, 2011

Jane and Prudence by Barbara Pym

Frustration following the Great Blogger Debacle has subsided, but  I'm not up to recreating the vanished review of Jane and Prudence by Barbara Pym. Still, it should not go unmentioned.

Jane and Prudence are unlikely friends. Jane is ten years older, unfashionable, incompetent in her role as vicar's wife, and totally inept at homemaking. Prudence, a single, very fashionable, working woman living in the city, is famous for her string of unsuitable boyfriends. When Jane's husband accepts a position in a rural parish, she sets out to find the perfect mate for her friend. As you may guess, Jane's matchmaking skills are not quite up to par either.

The novel, centered around domestic/parish life, steeped in English culture and values of the time, and featuring plenty of tea drinking, was exactly what I have come to expect from Barbara Pym. This cozy, relaxing read provided the perfect beginning for my recent Florida vacation. I only wished I'd packed Some Tame Gazelle, too.

Giveaway reminder: 
Pym's novels can be difficult to find here in the United States. I'm giving away my gently read copy of Jane and Prudence on Sunday. If you're interested, leave me a comment here.


  1. It's so interesting to me that some books are marketed more overseas than here. I'd love to know how marketers make those decisions!

  2. Oh I can't resist a story set in England with plenty of tea and vicars! Count on Pym to do just that. This is one I haven't read yet, JoAnn, so thanks for giving it a shout out despite Blogger's best efforts to thwart you.

  3. I love the storyline, themes and details in Jane and Prudence. It sounds like a wonderful book to curl up with on a rainy day with a cup of tea!

    When I am having a particularly bad night of pain, which makes it difficult to focus on good literature and more serious books, I often read lighter books, usually by a certain few women authors. The problem for me is if I'm still reading the book when I start to feel better, I get irritated with the lack of introspection or character development and the happy endings. But I have difficulty leaving a book unread for too long while moving on to other nags at me. Anyway, my point (I have one, promise!) is Jane and Prudence sounds like a book I might be able to get absorbed in when I'm not feeling well and enjoy when I'm also feeling better. JoAnn, can you recommend some authors similar to Barbra Pym?

  4. Maybe with all of your posts about her books someone will decide to make them more available here!

  5. I've been wanting to read a Barbara Pym for a while and think this may be the one to start with, when my TBR pile has diminished a little bit. Thank you for reposting.

  6. Rhapsodyinbooks - Me, too!

    Darlene - Plenty of both tea and vicars here...hard to resist indeed!

    Julie - You're welcome :-)

    Amy - Pym sounds like the perfect author for that situation! Have you ever read M.C. Beaton's Agatha Raisin series? She's a middle-aged female detective living in the Cotswolds. I've only read one, but enjoyed it. I'm also wondering if Elizabeth Taylor fits this category... have just bought one of her novels, A Game of Hide and Seek.

    Staci - I certainly hope so!

    Joan Hunter Dunn - Jane and Prudence would be a great place to start, although I did love Excellent Women, too.

  7. argh - so sorry Blogger wasn't able to recover all of your posts/drafts!

  8. I've had No Fond Return of Love on my shelf for what seems like forever, but I'm still to read it. This sounds quite... well... VMC-like. :)

    I love the covers of these books as well, and one of these days, after finishing No Fond Return, I shall read this one. One of these days.

  9. anothercookiecrimbles - LOL, it is very VMC-like! I'll get to No Fond Return of Love one of these days, too...

  10. I'm a bit of a 'Pymphomaniac' myself. I haven't read "Jane and Prudence" though. I'll have to find a copy. Her writing is gentle and insightful, and I think is fascinating in how it describes that period in Britain following the end of WWII. The emotion of loneliness is something she does ever so well, in my opinion. I just found your blog from your comment on my recently posted Hardy poem, and I'm looking forward to browsing about and seeing all that you've posted. 'Tis nice to make a new friend! Cheers! Chris

  11. Chris - Gentle and insightful is exactly right. Jane and Prudence was a follow-up to my introductory Pym, Excellent Women. Next up is Some Tame Gazelle, purchased on our last trip to London. It's nearly impossible to find anything by Barbara Pym in upstate NY! Thanks so much for visiting.


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