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Three Houses [Paperback]

Angela Thirkell
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

29 Oct 2012
As heard on BBC Radio 4's Book of the Week. 'There is always in our minds the hope that we may find again those golden unhastening days and wake up and dream' In this beautifully nostalgic memoir, eminent author Angela Thirkell recalls in rich detail the three houses in which she grew up. Focusing first on 'The Grange', where her grandfather, the celebrated painter Sir Edward Burne-Jones, set the cultivated tone, Thirkell also reminisces about her parents' home in Kensington Square and the Burne-Jones' seaside retreat, where Angela's cousin, Rudyard Kipling, lived across the green. A tale of forbidden explorations, Punch and Judy shows, and adventures in the garden, Three Houses is beautifully evocative of the innocent quality of childhood. From the busy literary centre of London to the English coast, this stunning memoir is both reminiscent of the golden days of youth and an interesting vision of a writer and the early influences that informed her later work.

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Three Houses + Wild Strawberries: A Virago Modern Classic (VMC) + High Rising: A Virago Modern Classic (VMC)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Allison & Busby (29 Oct 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0749012390
  • ISBN-13: 978-0749012397
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 128,791 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Angela Thirkell (1890-1961) wrote many works of fiction and non-fiction, including twenty-nine 'Barsetshire' novels, which won her great popularity and acclaim. The first of these, High Rising, was published in 1933. Her relatives included Edward Burne-Jones, Rudyard Kipling and Stanley Baldwin, and her godfather was JM Barrie. She was twice married and had four children.

Product Description

About the Author

Angela Thirkell (1890 - 1961), granddaughter of the pre-Raphaelite painter Sir Edward Burne-Jones, cousin of Rudyard Kipling and mother to novelist Colin MacInnes, was born in Kensington Square, London. A prolific author, she wrote over thirty novels in her lifetime, mostly set in Barsetshire. Three Houses, a memoir of her childhood, was her first book and became an immediate success on its publication in 1931.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars VERY INTERESTING EDWARDIAN CHILDHOOD 27 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Angela Thirkell was the granddaughter of Sir Edward Burne-Jones, the pre-Raphaelite artist and cousin of Rudyard Kipling. Her life span was 1890-1961. This book tells of her childhood experiences, with her brother and baby sister in the various houses of her family, and a little of close friends around them. It sheds first-hand light on a period of time when we tend to think life was more idyllic than it obviously was. Even with fame and wealth, big houses and servants, everyday life and the environment could be marred by many factors just as it is today in the 21st Century. Life is very much easier for us in general, but unfortunately we do not on the whole appreciate what we have, and abuse it when we should be taking more care of it for ourselves and future generations.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Reindeer gloves with fur lining 6 Aug 2014
Format:Paperback
I bought this book for the attractive cover, and left it aside for a while. Finally picked it up on holiday.
The author is very amusing on the subject of the discomfort of pre-Raphaelite furniture, and she ought to know, being Burne-Jones' granddaughter!
There is, however, a vein of snobbery that runs through the book, that kept me from enjoying it fully. Of figs, the author says, "how superior are our long Sussex figs to the short round foreign variety".
Of the waits (a kind of carol-singing) she says, "I don't suppose any of them knew any kind of carol beyond a very garbled version of Good King Wenceslas in which they always telescoped the last two bars into one, making two crotchets and a minim out of two minims and a semi-breve on the word 'weather'".
Shocking stuff! The book was first published in 1931, so the minims may have mattered more then.
A privileged childhood, where a child was given reindeer gloves with fur lining as just one of her stocking presents at Christmas, seems to have led to a distaste for modern living, for this memoir is nostalgic and idealised, looking back to a time when things were better, even if Nanny was stricter.
The final chapter on bathing and the descent to the beach down the cliff-face with the perambulators is my favourite, and makes the book worth buying for this alone.
On the whole, though, I found this book a little dull, there was not enough of a narrative arc to any of the chapters. And the snobbery kept making me want to ditch the book. I had to force myself to finish it, even though it is only 200 pages. Now that I've reached the final chapter, I'm glad I stuck with it.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brillant evocation of Edwardian childhood 29 Dec 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Angela Thirkell was the granddaughter of Burne-Jones, one of the pre-Raphaelite painters of the late 19th - early 20th century era. Her remembrances of her childhood are intimately interwoven with the artistic world of the era and present a vivid and exquisitely crafted evocation of that world as well as her place in it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Turn of the century idyllic childhood. 25 July 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a delightful little book about a late Edwardian childhood with Burne jones as her grandfather. London and Sussex. I am devoted to Angela thirkell, and this was a big treat.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great reading 1 July 2013
By grandma
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
loved this book and have bought 2 more copies as gifts for friends.

it was lovely to see the portrayal of edward burne jones as such a loving grandfather and the normal everyday life of such well known names it was a great read.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Delightful 7 Aug 2014
By TCA
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this little peek into a family `s life and had glimpses into another era and lifetime of a famous family
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Angela Thirkell's first book 14 Feb 2014
By T. Bently VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
This a very descriptive evocation of a middle-class Edwardian childhood. Not a lot happens but their are some nice touches. I especially liked the author eating lobster tails then using the antennae to decorate her hats! A gentle tome, unlikely to shock anyone.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Charming late Victorian childhood 22 April 2009
Format:Hardcover
The charming autobiography of an idealised childhood in the 1890s in south England, by the grand-daughter of Sir Edward Burne-Jones.
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