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Thirkell, Angela

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(British, 1890–1961)

Thirkell was born in London, educated at St Paul's School, and began writing during the 1920s when she lived in Australia. Begin with her memoir of Victorian childhood, Three Houses (1931), which entertainingly sets the upper-class rural tone of much of her fiction. She is best known for her long series of novels depicting the lives and times of the gentry of Barsetshire, a fictional location adopted in tribute to its originator, Anthony Trollope. Cheerfulness Breaks In (1940) surveys activity among the county folk as the shire prepares for the Second World War. County Chronicle (1950) reflects on the changing post-war order as Mrs Brandon, a dominant presence throughout the series, re-evaluates her life following the marriage of her son. Published to coincide with the centenary of Queen Victoria's coronation, Coronation Summer (1937) is a historical novel evoking the imperialistic optimism of that era. Her other works include Trooper to the Southern Cross (1934), the story of a near-mutiny that ensues on a troopship to Australia when failed refrigeration results in bad food.

E. M. Delafield, Lettice Cooper, Anthony Trollope  DH

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