Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A-Z Wednesday: "N"

A-Z Wednesday is hosted by Vicki at Reading At The Beach. To join in, just visit her blog for the guidelines and leave your link in a comment.

This week's letter is "N." So I went to my shelves, and this is what I pulled out.

No Fond Return of Love
Written by Barbara Pym
First published 1961

Description from the dust jacket:
Dulcie Mainwaring . . . is one of those "excellent women" who is always helping others and never looking out for herself – especially in the realms of love. She has a fondness for Ovaltine and a maxim to go with it: "Life's problems are often eased by hot milky drinks."

At a "learned conference" she meets a fellow researcher with an air of some refinement – Viola Dace – and the alluring, absentminded Professor Aylwin Forbes. Dulcie subsequently becomes Viola's landlady, as well as guardian and housekeeper for her own young niece Laurel. Then Laurel becomes the object of Aylwin's amorous designs, and Viola's early passion for Aylwin fades into a more mundane affair.

The novel climaxes in a delicate tangling of schemes and unfulfilled dreams when Dulcie and Viola take a trip to Eagle House in Taviscombe, on the seacoast in the West Country, to discover the hidden secrets of the Forbes clan and the role played in their destiny by a mysterious castle on the hill.

As in all of Pym's novels, the prose is honed to a wry, deadpan perfection. Life's little humiliations are finally put into their place, and the reader sees that things do fall out correctly; love is returned, and fondly, after all.
The book's page at Amazon.com.

The cover of my old paperback edition:

The cover of another, more recent edition:

English novelist Barbara Pym is probably my favorite "modern" writer, and No Fond Return of Love is one of her wittiest and most representative novels. If you haven't read Pym, you're denying yourself some really wonderful literary pleasure. I would always recommend beginning with the early works (especially Some Tame Gazelle, and Excellent Women), but every one of her books is a delight and you can jump in anywhere.


  1. This sounds as though it has all the elements I enjoy most in a book...

    Here's mine:


  2. I have not read Pym. But her character had me at "Life's problems are often eased by hot milky drinks."

  3. Sounds interesting. I remember my mom trying to fix us Ovaltine. But it just didn't taste like `real` chocolate milk. The covers are really interesting.

    My `N` is up.


  4. Hi!
    Sounds like a tangle of emotions. I'll have to check this author out. Have a great day!

    Just Books

  5. New author to me.


  6. Looks interesting considering she had a "fondness Olvatine". Here is my "N" book.

  7. It sounds like a fantastic read! Great choice for N!

  8. Love "Life's problems are often eased by hot milky drinks." !!!

    I like the 3rd cover the most.

    Thanks for playing!

  9. Sounds like a good read. So many different covers...I like the first one best :)

  10. I have an award for you!



Welcome and thanks for leaving me a comment. I love to hear from visitors.

Also, please note that while I appreciate the thought, I don't play the blog awards game. I think you all deserve awards! But you might think about becoming a follower of my blog -- that would really be the best award.