Whew! Today is a no-school day for us and I am doing the double mommy thing, that is, I have my child's friend here for the day. I figured it would be less work for me - and I think it will be overall - but they're already asking when we're going to lunch (it's 9:30) and my child is crying over losing Whoonu (great game and good for all ages). Okay, now they want to 'challenge' me to make a cheese and butter sandwich in 24 seconds, then they'll give me a prize. Anyway.
So, we all talk about 'just-right' books, those books we read at the perfect time, that wind up being just right. I've been reading a lot of dark books, mystery and suspense, with evil plot lines. I wanted something lighthearted, something funny, something less Victorian and more modern. Something short, since I already had 2 long books on the go. I discovered that I don't have many books that fit that description. I came across some Barbara Pym books that I've collected. I decided No Fond Return of Love might fit the bill.
Dulcie Mainwaring is the heroine of this novel. She is an unmarried 30-something spinster, who has had an engagement broken on her. She lives in the home of her late parents and earns her living writing indexes for books and doing research for authors. Dulcie attends a work-related conference and becomes acquainted with Professor Aylwin Forbes and Viola Dace who seem to have had some sort of romantic entanglement. Upon Dulcie's return to London her niece Laurel comes to live with her and a sequence of events brings Viola to live in Dulcie's home as well. A romantic muddle ensues, involving all three woman and a host of romantically challenged men. Pym has an interesting way of writing male characters - they tend to be rather silly and somewhat undeserving of the attentions of the females.
I wasn't in love with the storyline of this book, but the writing and humor were sublime. I found Dulcie hilarious, introverted, and honest. She's happy to have her niece stay with her, but she hopes Laurel will want to make hot drinks in her room in the evening so Dulcie has the kitchen to herself. I think Dulcie would have been a big fan of Facebook and other networking sites. You see, she develops a crush on Aylwin and thanks to her skills in obtaining information, she gathers information about Aylwin, his estranged wife, her mother, and his brother and proceeds to track them down and sort of 'stop by'. Perhaps her behavior was considered quaint or coincidental when this book was published in 1961, but I certainly found it pretty shockingly stalker-like!
So, was this a just-right book for me? I think the tone of this was just right, the story was just okay, for me. Not unlike this post actually, during which I have been interrupted 93937582 times. Cheers!