Nightingale Wood PDF/EPUB Ê Paperback

Nightingale Wood ❄ [KINDLE] ✽ Nightingale Wood By Stella Gibbons ➝ – A sly and satirical fairytale by the author of Cold Comfort Farm Unavailable for decades Stella Gibbons's Nightingale Wood is a delightfully modern romance ripe for rediscovery by the many fans of Col A sly and satirical fairytale by the author of Cold Comfort Farm Unavailable for decades Stella Gibbons's Nightingale Wood is a delightfully modern romance ripe for rediscovery by the many fans of Cold Comfort Farm Poor lovely Viola has been left penniless and alone after her late husband's demise and is forced to live with his family in their joy­less home Its occupants are nearly insufferable Mr Withers is a tyrannical old miser; Mrs Withers dismisses her as a common shop girl; and Viola's sisters in law Madge and Tina are too preoccupied with their own troubles to give her much thought Only the prospect of the upcoming charity ball can lift her spirits especially as Victor Spring the local prince charming will be there But Victor's intentions towards the young widow are in short not uite honorable.

10 thoughts on “Nightingale Wood

  1. Shannon (Giraffe Days) Shannon (Giraffe Days) says:

    I loved Cold Comfort Farm Gibbons' debut novel the film is also wonderful if you haven't seen it so I was excited to hear about this book I never thought to look into it but Gibbons wrote uite a few novels in her day; this is her ninth And written and set prior to the outbreak of WWII it was perfect for the currently running 1930s Mini Challenge hosted by things mean a lotFrom the opening line you know you're in for one of those wonderfully witty sharply ironic stories that cast an appraising and not very flattering eye on people and society It begins It is difficult to make a dull garden but old Mr Wither had succeeded And just a paragraph later comes this gem Mrs Wither came in but he took no notice of her because he had seen her before That cracked me up This kind of dry humour deprecating and even insulting in its ability to spotlight people's flaws and insecurities their idiosyncrasies and petty vanities is a sense of humour I grew up with and feel perfectly comfortable with thanks to how much British television the ABC plays and how much we my family watchedIt is the story of newly widowed Viola Wither a shopgirl who married Theodore Wither who died of pneumonia a year later while only in his 40s Pretty much penniless she goes to live with her in laws at The Eagles in Sussex dour Mr Wither and his obsession with watching his money in the stock market; Mrs Wither who disapproves of anyone who isn't staid plain and sensible which Viola certainly isn't; Madge the eldest daughter who in her late 30s still finds men and love and all that nonsense disgusting and prefers being one of the lads up at the club and training her dog Polo; and Tina Christina who is now in her mid thirties has tried several careers but lost interest in them all and has a crush on the young chauffeur SaxonInto this gloomy house comes Viola who is herself not very intelligent nor does she have great depth of feeling But she has always had a great crush on the Withers' neighbour Victor Spring a very handsome and wealthy bachelor and businessman Victor is just as flawed as everyone else you won't find a single character in Nightingale Wood who comes across as completely sympathetic; at the very least they're depicted as a bit of a twit With Victor the object of Viola's mad love he's less than honourable with womenHe admired women only for being pretty docile and well dressed He had to pretend he admired the other achievements because everybody else admired them or said that they did but to himself he thought coarsely All a lot of B And when he got with other men who agreed with him they would smile in a certain way and look at each other and mutter 'All a lot of B' Brainy women sporting women arty women all a lot of B This may have been due to suppressed subconscious jealousy Or it may have been due to the natural resentment of a healthy creature existing efficiently in its own sphere because another creature with different powers and aims was muscling in on a comfortable racket There are the two points of view p247Victor's fiancee Phylis is a very well dressed socialite whom he's known forever theirs is the sort of engagement that was always going to happen Phyllis is even less of an attractive person than Victor she reminded me of Mr Darcy's girlfriend Natasha in Bridget Jones's Diary especially when she clicks her fingers at him to hurry along did I get the name right?The ensemble cast and there are plenty who make an appearance and an impact on the story make for an entertaining read The plot is simple enough following mostly Viola and Tina but isn't really about plot It's a very shrewd slightly caustic in its honesty deeply ironic look at early 20th century British society still deeply classist still obsessed with money and who has it with vanities fair and foul I half expected Victor's cousin Hetty who scorns their flashy lifestyle and grand house with a snobbery eual to theirs and reads a lot of poetry and other deep works to be a sensible even wise character but no she's held up as being just as foolish as anyone else In a way it makes for an evenly told storyPerhaps because all their flaws and vanities are held up for our laughing scrutiny they all end up being sympathetic characters in their way They're also very familiar characters we may think we've come a long way but seriously I think it's fair to say that there are plenty of Viola's Tina's Mr Withers Victor's Phyllis's and Hetty's around today Which just emphasises how shrewd Gibbons' eye really was So we laugh and wince at the same timeIt did take me uite a while to read this book because it's surprisingly dense and seemed to take forever to turn a page There's a lot of detail here and it's a different prose style than what is common these days I could uote lots of passages there's some wonderful insightful lines here and yet wit but you'd be better off reading the book yourself and getting the proper context I'm certainly keen to read Gibbons

  2. Ryandake Ryandake says:

    this review refers to the audiobook versionoh what fun like jane austen with icky peoplethis book tends toward a dim view of the human race which is uite fine with me there's the father in law who wants only to get his paws on other people's money his low wattage wife who must have never met an intellectual challenge she didn't run shrieking from his eldest daughter a spinster so cold she can love only a dog his youngest daughter whose chances for marriage are a candle in the wind and the friendless young widow his family takes in only to be mean to her Gibbons is a new experience for me this is like the anti romance novel for the most part but not just romance of the boy girl kind she writes uite clear eyed about money and its corrosive effects; about living or not uite living in a stultifying society; about how small town life can make a person well small only the natural world gets a passi'd like to listen to this again sometime Gibbons' social critiue is sharp and often very funny and she has clear respect for her readers the end wraps up with a wedding but rest assured not everybody lives happily ever after not by a long shot

  3. Rebecca Huston Rebecca Huston says:

    A very funny very smart novel about upper middle class life in late 1930's England Two families separated by a woodland where The Hermit the town drunk and suatter lives come together in unlikely ways when Viola the Withers' widowed daughter in law arrives and chaos starts brewing Lots of wit some tongue in cheek moments and just enough sadness to make all of the lovely bits sting just a bit If you liked Cold Comfort Farm you will probably like this one For the longer review please go here

  4. Mir Mir says:

    Recently reissued by Virago Modern Classics YayBecause there isn't much plot description on GR I am stealing Robin McKinley's review from her blog until I actually get to read this myself Viola Thompson is a shop girl with no prospects and having no prospects somewhat reluctantly accepts the proposal of a dull young man named Theodore Wither because she is not likely to have any others Theodore however is so convenient or inconvenient as to die after a year of marriage; and Viola goes to live with her in laws the appalling Mr Wither the watery Mrs Wither the jolly hockey sticks Madge and the neurotic Tina in a dire frigid over furnished house marooned in a bit of Essex countryside Viola is soon lonelier and miserable than she can comprehend; and with nothing to look forward to and nothing to think about except the one other large house in the area where an extremely wealthy and rather handsome young man named Victor Spring lives with his mother and his cousin gives flashy and dashing house parties and is the romantic fantasy of every shop girl in Sible Pelden and Chesterbourne This is not exclusively Viola’s story; Tina although she has ‘kept her brain exercised by reading heavyish books which might not always be truly wise but at least were not those meringues of the intellect novels’ is in love with the chauffeur who is twelve years younger than she is and has a drunken washerwoman for a mother but is very good looking ‘ They saw him walk past the window on his afternoon off wearing a grey suit in which he looked as beautiful as he did in his dark uniform differing therein from many chauffeurs whose appearance when in mufti suggests that of escaped convicts’ And Victor Spring’s cousin a young woman named Hetty hates her comfortable enforced high bourgeois existence and can’t wait for her twenty first birthday when she is going to run off to London and live in a garret Viola is an orphan; she was raised by her father after her mother’s death He was a passionate amateur actor and named her Viola after his favourite heroine ‘She liked to watch her father as he read and to listen to the smoothly rolling tones; she felt no curiosity about what the words meant It was only Shakespeare and she was used to him But Viola’s father was knocked down by a young man driving a car and died in an hour ‘The young man was fined and had some severe remarks made about him and drove away from the court faster than ever because he was so cross ’ which is to say this is Cinderella with an edge As Mrs Theodore Wither Viola ‘was not very happy because after he was married to her Teddy discovered that she was not so poetic and marvellous as he had supposed and naturally this made him less fond of her’ Of the exciting house on the far side of the nightingale wood ‘The telephone rang every half hour or so Vans from Harrods from Fortnum and Mason and Cartier came up to the house These were for Mrs Spring whose hobby was shopping’ This being Cinderella there has to be a ball and Viola has to go to it and meet and dance with Prince Charming; and there is and she does But then the ball is over and she has to go back to the dire frigid house where there is nothing to do—one of the things Gibbons gets bang right to my eye is the mad frenzied hopeless boredom of being a nice bourgeois girl of that era Viola thinks ‘I wish I was dead Well not exactly dead but I wish I was a nun or something or something simply marvellous would happen tomorrow’ Being a nice girl she cannot ring up Mr Charming and suggest they go to a film together; besides he is already engaged to be married to an extremely well turned out scion of the smart set But—finally—and with only a tiny acceptable amount of violent manipulation she has an excuse to write him a letter ‘She posted her letters keeping Victor’s until the end and pushing it slowly through the letter box letting it fall at last into the darkness She heard the little sound as it landed on the other letters below She stood for a minute staring at the box then turned and walked slowly home’ And that letter arrives at a crucial juncture and

  5. Ali Ali says:

    Nightingale Wood is a really delightful Cinderella type tale from the author who of course is better known for having brought us Cold Comfort Farm However I think that the novel is a little deceptive it is not as light as it may appear and there is a complexity and poignancy to it that is especially well done Gibbons has captured a rural community of the 1930’s with its class divisions and restrictions highlighting the differing social positions of her characters and the way those positions are perceived by others Viola Withers is just twenty one newly widowed of a much older husband she finds herself obliged to go and live with her in laws at The Eagles in Essex This household of women; Mrs Withers middle aged daughters Madge and Tina and their three female servants are all very much in thrall to Mr Withers a strict patriarch preoccupied by the management of other people’s money The Wither’s invite Viola to live with them out of nothing than a sense of duty and Viola’s gentle soul uails rather at the coldness she finds Mrs Withers regards her daughter in law with some suspicion a former shop girl who married her son rather suddenly; her main occupation seems to be keeping her husband calm Tina thirty five and secretly in love with Saxon the chauffer – twelve years her junior hopes that Viola will bring some much needed life to The Eagles Madge on the other hand nearing forty having never really grown up is only concerned with hunting fishing and dogs Madge – famously known for “not howling” sobbing hysterically as she begs her father to allow her a puppy is pitifully memorable Stella Gibbons portrays the family at The Eagles with her familiar humour but there is a definite sharpness to it – which is very tellingThe family at The Eagles was assembled in the drawing room at that dreary hour when tea is long over and dinner not yet in sight It was a tranuil scene; it would have annoyed a Communist Five non productive members of the bourgeoisie sat in a room as large as a small hall each breathing air warmed by fire and getting delight and comfort from the pictures and furniture than was strictly necessary In the kitchen underneath them three members of the working class swinked ignobly at getting their dinner bought with money from invested capital But perhaps this is not a very interesting way of regarding poor Mr Wither and the rest Not far away from The Eagles and another rung or two up the social ladder are the Springs Mrs Spring her bookish niece Hetty and her son Victor handsome and full of confidence he is the undisputed Prince Charming of the neighbourhood Victor is unofficially engaged to Phyllis a rather hilariously awful character that Gibbons is so good at creating Victor Spring may be the Prince Charming of the piece but he certainly appears to not be in any way a hero At a ball which serves to bring some much needed distraction to the inhabitants of The Eagles Victor first really notices Viola despite having already given a lift to her and Tina when caught in a rain storm – his intentions however are anything but honourable “Yesof course she was a widow He had forgotten that She looked the very image of innocence she talked like a schoolgirl but widows were not innocent However young and simple a widow might seem you could not get away from the fact that widows presumably were notWell this girl was actually experienced than old Phyl”What I really enjoyed about Nightingale Wood – aside from the humour and the wonderful characterisation – are the several different plot strands which weave together so nicely Tina’s relationship with her unlikely seeming lover Saxon Viola’s romantic infatuation of Victor Spring Victor’s unsatisfactory relationship with the eminently eligible Phyllis manage to be wonderfully satirical and touching Without giving too much away – in the resolutions of these fairy tale stories Gibbons is ever so slightly subversive It all makes for a hugely readable and engaging novel – maybe less of a classic than Cold Comfort Farm –it is still well worth reading

  6. Vicki Vicki says:

    I read this book when on a Stella Gibbons kick after reading Cold Comfort Farm She's a really interesting figure to me Gibbons because she wrote SO much but is pretty much only known for Cold Comfort Farm which is of course delightful But she was a prolific writer and just jumped all over the place with her books That's cool Most people don't do that In Nightingale Wood we have the story of class clash in a small English town That's what this book is all about class interest keeping money in your family or at least keeping your nobility and coldness The coldness of a hard family and how the characters try to find love to warm them up again Really interesting

  7. Georgie-who-is-Sarah-Drew Georgie-who-is-Sarah-Drew says:

    If this hadn't been written by Stella Gibbons I think I'd have rated it highly But the power of the Brand is such that I judge NW by CCF and it just doesn't measure up There are some delightfully cutting remarks and some pleasant enough scene setting But Part of the problem is that none of the characters are particularly sympathetic or at least every scene that might elicit some sympathy for one person or another is followed by an antidote That can work well enough if there is a thorough going villain against whom everyone can unite but Mr Wither set up initially as a domineering mysogynistic puritanical Mr Punch is sadly marginalised So while this wasn't a completely wasted afternoon I'd hoped for

  8. Patricia Patricia says:

    I really enjoyed this bookIf like me you've been a long time fan of Cold Comfort Farm then you'll love this one as wellIf you've never read Stella Gibbons before then the best description I can come up with is that it's like Jane Austen but about 120 years later with a very drywicked sense of humour and just a little bit of sexIt was written in 1938 and it's a story about people their social position manners and relationships There's also an interwoven social commentary about the different roles and stereotypes of women at the timeI loved the humour in the book and laughed out loud several timesTo sum it up typically English uirky and fun

  9. Laura Laura says:

    From BBC Radio 4 Extra On either side of Nightingale Wood through one idyllic year in the late 1930s hearts beat and minds scheme as the dowdy Wither family tries to compete with the glittering Springs Bookish Tina Wither is in love with Saxon her father's handsome and aloof chauffeur Her shopgirl sister in law Viola has fallen for Victor Spring the lord of the manor And Madge is in love with a dog

  10. ❀⊱RoryReads⊰❀ ❀⊱RoryReads⊰❀ says:

    4 StarsLovely and fun

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *