3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
An English Family Drama,
This review is from: Family Roundabout (Paperback)
The small village of Hurstmede has two leading families, the established Fowlers of Langley Place and the nouveau riche Willoughby's. Family Roundabout follows the fortunes of the members of these families as they combine and conflict with each other. Crompton derives rich humour from the opposing matriarchs, the quietly anarchic Mrs Fowler and the hawkish, controlling Mrs Willoughby. There's an affection for the quirks and absurdities of the families. Crompton does not always take the easy path however - some characters' mistakes are irrecoverable and some relationships unmendable.
Written post-war and set from 1920 up to the mid-30s, there is a element of nostalgia in the village streets with its carts and smithy, and there's a poignancy in the light, unknowing references to news from Europe. Having become attached to the young men and women of Hurstmede, the reader leaves the book with the very uncomfortable knowledge of what they still have to face.
Reading this made me wonder why Richmal Crompton wasn't the Maeve Binchy of her day... perhaps the shadow of William Brown loomed just too large.