I read an extract from "A Glass of Blessings" in "The Penguin Book of Gay Short Stories" where Barbara Pym is credited as being "one of the first English writers to include homosexual characters in her work without sensationalising or condemning them." What's equally remarkable is that when Pym wrote this novel,where a gay couple is presented in an entirely matter-of-fact manner, homosexuality was still a crime. Reading the whole book I was enchanted by the heroine, Wilmet Forsyth, 30-something, fashion-conscious, idle, bored, with an affluent and hard-working husband, an intellectual, do-gooding mother-in-law, and no less than three High Anglican priests to interest herself in! I can just picture Wilmet, in a classic 50s couture suit, fur stole, and high heels,taking a taxi to a ladies' lunch, and then going on to buy an elegant hat. But what makes her so appealing are her doubts, humour, self-awareness, and her recognition of her mistakes. She makes a cameo appearance too in "No Fond Return of Love", still secure and cherished, with her husband Rodney and the gay couple, Piers and Keith, all in attendance.