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Laughter on the Stairs (Merry Hall Trilogy)

Laughter on the Stairs (Merry Hall Trilogy) [Kindle Edition]

Beverley Nichols
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product Description


Nichols, a prolific writer best known for his gardening books, transforms the large and small happenings of a sleepy British village and country estate into mock high drama, retelling events such as a burglary, a ghost sighting, and home and garden renovations with humor and insight. SciTech Book News 19981218 [Nichols] the very model of gardening insouciance,... wrote at least once about everything and... is nearly the Bertie Wooster of gardening, and I say nearly only because some would consider it an insult to be called the Bertie Wooster of anything. -- Verlyn Klinkenborg New York Times Book Review 19981201 You'll find laughter on the stairs and everywhere else Nichols takes you as he renovates his old home and garden. Southern Living 19990201 A marvelously hilarious insight into people, plants and places... If you have ever renovated an old house or garden, you'll love these books. Traditional Gardening 19990201 The charm of Merry Hall, Laughter on the Stairs (mostly about the house) and Sunlight on the Lawn is undeniable, a mixture of the lyrical, the teasing, the understatedly witty and the self-mockingly camp. -- Ursula Buchan Daily Telegraph (London) 19991231 Be prepared. Beverley Nichols' garden books are part PG Wodehouse and part James Barrie - full of hilarious Jeeves-like characters and events, with moments of Peter Pan magic. -- Bob Cowden Pacific Horticulture 20000531 Find a comfortable chair, relax, and enjoy the Nichols' flights of literary fancy but be warned, once started, his books are hard to put down. -- Rosemary Read American Rhododendron Society Journal 19990602 The Nichols books are gardening classics; after reading one volume, you will want to read the others, so it would be best to buy all three at the outset. -- Diane Kostial McGuire Journal of the New England Garden History Society 20001204 For Beverley Nichols, this is a season of revival, and readers can be grateful for the chance once again to cultivate his acquaintance. -- Michele Slung Victoria 20010327

Product Description

In this, the second volume of the Merry Hall trilogy, Nichols is less concerned with his garden and more with his house, but the story does include the memorable characters Our Rose, the ditzy floral designer, and the cantankerous gardener Oldfield.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4431 KB
  • Print Length: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Timber Press; Reprint edition (15 Oct 1998)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001XCW7RI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #539,914 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A joy to read 13 Jan 2014
By Mrs. K. A. Wheatley TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is the second book in the Merry Hall trilogy by Beverley Nichols, the first of which is the eponymous Merry Hall.

I enjoyed this book much more than the first one, partly I think, because I had grown used to Beverley Nichols idiosyncratic way of writing, partly because I had grown to care for the characters he paints so vividly and it was a pleasure to be reintroduced to them. I think that Laughter on the Stairs is more amusing than the first book too. I particularly loved to read about his torture by decor thanks to the late Mr. Stebbings of Merry Hall, the stained glass window in particular springs to mind. Nichols has an ability to paint miniatures in words, snapshots of his life that are incredibly vivid and a joy to read. His voice reminds me more of a pre war era, with a little of the Mitford about him perhaps. It is perfect escapism.
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4.0 out of 5 stars a sequel worth reading 25 Mar 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book contained more of, and more about, the characters from Merry Hall. I would like to see a kindle copy of Merry Hall at the same price as this. After Merry Hall's walk round the garden, I enjoyed the ramble round the house named in the first book in the series. I felt as if I was meeting old friends as I read Merry Hall some years ago. It was nice to meet them again. The book was entertaining and light-hearted, just the thing for this bleak long winter we are having. Spring seemed a little nearer after reading this book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars laughter on the stairs 12 Feb 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is an enjoyable light read taking me back to the days of austerity in the 1950s. I like is attention to detail and the delightful people he meeys while restoring his home.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars UPROARIOUS FUN! 6 Jun 2000
By A Customer - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A delightful read! Mr. Nichols (in a very "proper" British fashion) describes his hilarious adventures in home decorating and remodeling. His run-ins with his snobby neighbors can not be missed! If you love gardens, cats, home decorating, or if you just love to laugh; GET THIS BOOK! In fact, get all three books in this trilogy (ie: "Merry Hall", "Sunlight on the Lawn", and "Laughter on the Stairs").
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A collectors edition, a high quality reprint. 11 Sep 1998
By HEADSET@gte.NET - Published on
Like a visit with an old friend, Mr. Nichols welcomes you into his home with open arms as he takes you on a tour of Merry Hall. Once again, in his own tongue-in-cheek style he describes the horrors of renovation and restoration. Friends, busybody neighbors, helpmates, and Beverley's beloved Cats 'One' and 'Four" accompany you on this delightful visit. Leaves one panting for more!
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Life in the big house.... 6 Jan 2001
By Dianne Foster - Published on
In LAUGHTER ON THE STAIRS, Nichols continues his tale of the restoration of Merry Hall and it's grounds. Just after WWII, Nichols purchased a derelict Georgian House and it's tattered grounds, and with the help of his 'man' Gaskins, and the able Oldfield, who had worked the grounds for most of his life, he began a restoration project.
MERRY HALL was written about six years into the project, and focused on the grounds. LAUGHTER ON THE STAIRS takes place a few years, when later Nichols has turned his attention to the interior of the old Georgian House. The former owner, a Mr. Stebbing had very Victorian tastes, which Nichols dislikes, and has tried to erase. At last, he plans to address the staircase, where a stained-glass window that was "unquestionably..most alarming" overhang the landing.
Nichols nosey-parker neighbor Rose doesn't want to see the house altered. She remembers the days when Mr. Stebbing was the owner, and she does not approve of the new owner's changes. She was particularly outraged by the savage destruction of the old boxwood hedge. Now, Nichols proposes to destroy the lovely stainglass window Mr. Stebbing had installed over the staircase. Of course Merry Hall is Nichol's house and he can do what he likes, but he is concerned about the neighbors reactions to his plans. The story takes an interesting twist when burglers break in one night and in a strange way help him solve the dilemma.
This is a light and amusing book, and one I found very intertaining reading before bedtime.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another delightful read! 2 Sep 2006
By Deborah Maufer - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is the second volume in the Merry Hall trilogy, a set of books that focuses on Beverley Nichols' home life while he resides at Merry Hall, not his work life (which is presumably covered in his multi-volume autobiography). Where the first volume focused almost exclusively on the rehabilitation of the garden portion of his newly-purchased property, Laughter on the Stairs focuses on the re-doing of the house, interspersed with stories of local goings-on.

With a deft hand Mr. Nichols describes the horrible but inevitable way in which home improvement projects tend to snowball into something much bigger and more expensive than one had intended. At the same time he takes great delight in un-doing the monstrosities that the previous owner has inflicted upon the house.

Meanwhile, we are introduced to a couple of new "characters", specifically Marius' old governess Miss Mint, a very sweet and extremely timid woman who is welcomed into the local community; Erica Wyman, a famous gypsy novelist of dubious experience who is not; and Five, who arrives as a kitten and quickly settles into the Nichols' household.

Among the amusing stories that the author recounts are one that involves the sale of Miss Mint's fake Tudor cottage with a dried-up well to the odious Ms. Wyman, and the flower show, which goes horribly awry in a most satisfying manner.

Mr. Nichols is the sort of person that you'd want as a friend - he's a gentle soul who is enraptured by beauty in every form and can scarcely bear to harm a bug, but he also has a marvelously dry sense of humor and a delicious way of describing the personalities and interactions of those around him.

As a reviewer, I despair of coming up with a sufficient list of adjectives for Mr. Nichols' writings, as I intend to search out and read them all. Although that intention itself is perhaps review enough.
5.0 out of 5 stars If you love old houses and cats, this one is for you. 24 Mar 2014
By Linda S. Hurley - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Charming, funny and clever. From a different era, but some things (like owning cats and restoring houses) will always be the same.
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