Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons (1932)
Flora Poste was orphaned at the age of 19, but it didn't cause her much grief as her parents had always been travelling and she had spent time out of school at a friend's house. Declining her friend's suggestion that she should stay there, she writes her remote family to see if any of them want to take her in. And this is how she ends up at Cold Comfort Farm in Sussex.
There has always been Starkadders at Cold Comfort, and they are currently being ruled by Aunt Agony Ada Doom. The woman who saw something nasty in the woodshed when she was young and has never been right since. The Starkadders are not allowed to leave the farm and they live in gloom until Flora saves them.Because that's what she is scheming to do. Save the Starkadders from their own misery and Aunt Ada.
What a wonderful book! I loved it from the first page and until the last. It is witty and full of amazing portraits of the characters and the English countryside. The Starkadders are strange, even without Aunt Ada. I think my favourite part is where Flora goes to the hired girl, Meriam, who has just popped out another baby and Flora tells her how to avoid getting pregnant when the spring time lust comes over her and Seth. The sexual desires in this book wasn't something I expected in a novel written in the 1930s by a female author. I also loved how Flora compared a lot of things to African wildlife and especially lions.
This book was a part of Line's 1001 books challenge and I'm glad it was because otherwise I probably wouldn't have read it. Stella Gibbons has written more about Cold Comfort, and I will put those books on my long list of books to read.