I have Oolookitty to thank for my discovery of Margery Sharp. Although I was familiar with her books for children, The Rescuers as well as a number of sequels to it, I didn't know who Margery Sharp was or that she also wrote novels for adults. My library has ten of her books, though three are for children. They were just sitting there all unassuming in the stacks and ready to be (re)discovered. I wasn't sure which to choose, being unfamiliar with the sort of story she writes, but I liked the sound of Cluny Brown. There are a few very favorable Amazon reviews of the book and it seems the story centers around a young woman in pre-WWII England and her romantic (mis)adventures.
The New York Times had some very good things to say about it as well in 1944.
"Miss Sharp has told her light and ingratiating story with deft skill and genial humor. Cluny Brown is gossamer stuff that a mere ghost of a breeze could easily blow away. It bears a pleasant generic kinship to the works of Angela Thirkell. But it has a neat wit, and ingenuity of plot and a delicate satiric edge that are all its own. The satire is restrained and gentle. Miss Sharp isn't mad at anybody. She has a tolerant affection for all her characters. She smiles at ancient conventions, meaningless prejudices and human obtuseness and folly, but she does not rant or scoff."
The review goes on to say that it's the sort of story you might call "frolicsome" and a perfect read to escape from the ills of the modern world. There is a blog devoted to Margery Sharp's works and Virago has even published one of her books. Per the Virago website, a bit about Sharp:
"Born Clara Margery Melita Sharp in Wiltshire, England in 1905, Margery Sharp attended school in Malta and in Streatham. She completed college studies in 1928, thereafter attending Westminster Art School, where she was very successful. She began her writing career at the age of twenty-one as a contributor to Punch, with pieces in the Saturday Evening Post, Strand magazine, Ladies’ Home Journal, and Harper’s, as well as many other magazines and papers. In 1938 she married Major Geoffrey Castle, an aeronautical engineer. A number of Sharp’s stories and novels became popular films, but she remains most famous as the author of the children’s series, The Rescuers, animated by Disney. She died in 1991."
Sounds like quite a find, don't you think? I'll be looking for the Virago title and I wouldn't even mind reading her children's books. First Cluny, though.