Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons

This just might be the best fiction book I read in 2022.

It’s utterly brilliant and yet I can’t work out why. In a way, it doesn’t matter.

It combines a heroine who has wisdom in dealing with people beyond her years together with a cast of support characters who might live quite close to Blandings Castle and be influenced by the pig-worshipping Lord Emsworth. Except the Starkadders live in rural Sussex not Shropshire.

Flora Poste is a privately educated young woman who descends on her relatives, the Starkadders and their close associates, at Cold Comfort Farm. The cast of characters is borderline believable and includes Judith alone with her grief, Amos the bible-bashing amateur preacher, the smouldering Seth who’s only really interested in talking films, Elfine the graceful, beautiful woman-in-waiting who bounds around The South Downs with wonderful abandon, and Aunt Ada Doom who saw “something nasty in the woodshed”.

By the end of the book, none of these characters still live at Cold Comfort Farm thanks to the brilliant observational skills and exemplary people skills of Flora Poste.

Does Flora find happiness for herself? Well, there’s only one way to find out.

Read the book. Recommended.

Published by Julian Worker

Julian was born in Leicester, attended school in Yorkshire, and university in Liverpool. He has been to 94 countries and territories and intends to make the 100 when travel is easier. He writes travel books, murder / mysteries and absurd fiction. His sense of humour is distilled from The Marx Brothers, Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, and Midsomer Murders. His latest book is about a Buddhist cat who tries to help his squirrel friend fly further from a children's slide.

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