Westwood by Stella Gibbons

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Set in wartime Highgate, Westwood tells the story of Margaret Steggles, a plain bookish girl whose mother has told her that she is ‘not the type that attracts men.’ What she lacks for in looks she makes up for with a romantic nature and cultural aspirations. By contrast, Margaret’s best friend, Hilda, has a sunny temperament and is effortlessly attractive.

When Margaret finds a ration book in Hampstead Health the playwright Gerard Challis enters both their lives. Challis is delighted with his own work and lines such as, ‘Suffering is the anvil upon which the crystal sword of integrity is hammered’. He has no use for humour. Margaret slavishly adores Challis and his artistic circle; Challis idolizes Hilda for her hair, her eyes and Hilda find’s Gerard’s romantic overtures a bit of a bind. This is a delightful wistful tale of romantic entanglements and self-reliance.

About Stella Gibbons

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Stella Gibbons was born in London in 1902. She went to the North London Collegiate School and studied journalism at University College, London. She then worked for ten years on various papers, including the Evening Standard. Stella Gibbons is the author of twenty-five novels, three volumes of short-stories, and four volumes of poetry. Her first publication was a book of poems The Mountain Beast (1930) and her first novel Cold Comfort Farm (1932) won the Femina Vie Heuruse Prize for 1933. Amongst her works are Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm (1940) Westwood (1946), Conference at Cold Comfort Farm (1959) and Starlight (1967). She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1950. In 1933 she married the actor and singer Allan Webb. They had one daughter. Stella Gibbons died in 1989.
Published September 5, 2011 by Vintage Classics. 464 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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The Guardian

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In 1930 a young journalist called Stella Gibbons started a new job on the Lady, "the magazine for gentlewomen", where she applied her versatility as a writer to every subject under the sun, bar cookery, which was the province of a certain Mrs Peel.

Aug 06 2011 | Read Full Review of Westwood

The Bookbag

Margaret seems lacking in gumption at times, and her dreaminess becomes almost as annoying for the reader as it is for her mother, who, with some experience of being let down by men, is also waiting for the day that Margaret is finally disillusioned.

Jul 27 2011 | Read Full Review of Westwood

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