Coronation Summer

Angela Mackail Thirkell, Author
Angela Mackail Thirkell, Author Moyer Bell $12.95 (200p) ISBN 978-1-55921-237-3
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An unusual venture for Thirkell (see above), this historical novel (first published in 1937) takes place in 1838, during the summer of Queen Victoria's coronation. Friends since boarding school, young Fanny Harcourt and Emily Dacre come to London for the coronation with Fanny's father, her brother Ned and Emily's young neighbor Henry Darnley. Fanny soon catches the eye of a handsome stranger, later introduced to her as DeLacy Vavasour, a celebrated novelist. Together or in pairs, the young people attend an aborted launching of a balloon from the Royal Surrey Zoological Gardens and visit a dressmaker, a museum, Madame Tussaud's, the symphony, the Epsom races and the festivities surrounding coronation night. While Ned is attracted to Emily (much to Henry's dismay), Fanny is interested in the fop Vavasour. But when Fanny's father loses the family fortune and the Harcourts are given the cold shoulder by the Vavasours, it's Henry who comes to the rescue. Graced with Thirkell's trademark dry humor and illustrated with newspaper clippings, engravings and paintings of the day (but burdened with references to politics and books now obscure), this deft, modest novel makes a quirky addition to the reprinted Thirkell oeuvre. (Oct.)
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