I found this rather less engrossing than other Barbara Pym novels I have read. It was sadder, it was less funny, and above all, the various elements of the plot seemed, for the first half of the book, to fit rather loosely together and there was little sense of forward momentum as Pym switched the focus from one cast of characters to another.
That said, it was certainly enjoyable to read throughout - there is a quite unique narrative voice and narrative style at work - and as the novel entered its second half, it did all start to cohere, for me. The ending brings a quite unexpected - and also, I found, quite moving, plot turn - which one of the character likens to the ending of Mansfield Park. I could see exactly what Barbara Pym had in mind, as it is the novelist's prerogative to make something that has seemed quite out of the question for a very long time suddenly start to happen.
So, this is not where I would start reading Barbara Pym. And I would not agree with Shirley Hazzard, quoted on the front cover as saying it is one of her very best. But I would certainly recommend it to those who have enjoyed her other books.