15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Absorbing, entertaining study of English life between the wars,
This review is from: Family Roundabout (Paperback)
Reading this novel by Richmal Crompton was a bit like reading a `William' story from the adults' point of views. Here too we have a sleepy interwar village with old fashioned shops, the county family and the nouveau riche family, teas and tennis parties. And you get similar character types - bossy young women, lovelorn young men, redoubtable elderly ladies, a solitary writer living in a cottage and a young wannabe socialist whose greatest act of rebellion is to wear orange socks. There are also children of course - whether engagingly rebellious or unattractively smug - but these remain in the background throughout.
The story is very absorbing, the characters are convincing and quite subtly drawn although we are never invited to delve too deeply into their inner lives, and, even though the subject matter includes adultery, death and disappointments of all kinds, the style is often very witty. Crompton's portrait of the self-indulgent, second rate novelist Arnold Palmer is particularly effective. `Mr Palmer spent a lot of time and thought impressing his modesty on people'. I do recommend `Family Roundabout', but if you want a 5* star novel along rather similar lines try Dorothy Whipple's wonderful `They Were Sisters'.