A little while ago, when I was looking up something or other to do with a book, I noticed that Margery Sharp, one of my very favourite authors, was born on 25th January 1905. I realised that that date next year will be her ‘110th birthday’ and I thought that it would be lovely to throw her a party.
Wouldn’t it be lovely to read a Margery Sharp book between now and then, and to post about it on that day?!
I know that her books for children are much loved, but I want to focus on her writing for grown-ups. Because I know that there are others out there who love her books, because I know there are others don’t know her and who would love her too, and because all but one of her books are out of print and need to be reissued, they really do.
(Don’t be put off by that fact; many of them are gettable, but I’ll come back to that in a while.)
I should explain what makes Margery so special, but I’m not going to, because there is somebody else who loves her who has done that so much better than I ever could. That’s why I’m going to direct you to The Margery Sharp Blog. It was – and is – so clearly a labour of love for its creator, who you may know through her writing blog, Genusrosa.
Finding someone else who loves Margery, and somebody who celebrates her legacy with such style, is one of the highlights of my book blogging years
Now I can’t promise that you’ll love Margery, but if you appreciate 20th century women writers you really should try her, because those of us who love her really, really love her.
Now, to practicalities.
We need a badge:
Please display it and please spread the word. It’s big here but it does scale down nicely – I’ve checked!
We need a bibliography
Rhododendron Pie (1930)
Fanfare for Tin Trumpets (1932)
The Nymph and The Nobleman (1932)
The Flowering Thorn (1933)
Sophy Cassmajor (1934)
Four Gardens (1935)
The Nutmeg Tree (1937)
Harlequin House (1939)
The Stone of Chastity (1940)
The Tigress On The Hearth (1941)
Cluny Brown (1944)
Britannia Mews (1946)
The Foolish Gentlewoman (1948)
Lise Lillywhite (1951)
The Gipsy in the Parlour (1954)
The Eye of Love (1957)
Something Light (1960)
Martha in Paris (sequel to The Eye of Love) (1962)
Martha, Eric and George (sequel to Martha in Paris) (1964)
The Sun in Scorpio (19650
In Pious Memory (1967)
The Innocents (1972)
The Lost Chapel Picnic and Other Stories (1973)
The Faithful Servants (1975)
Summer Visits (1977)
The early books were printed in small quantities, and are very nearly impossible to find, but The Nutmeg Tree became a film and then a play and from then on her books were printed in larger quantities.
‘The Eye of Love’ is in print, and I’ve picked up used copies ‘The Stone of Chastity’, ‘Cluny Brown’, ‘Britannia Mews’, ‘Lise Lillywhite’, ‘Something Light’ and ‘Four Gardens’ very cheaply, so there are books out there to be found.
It’s also worth checking your library catalogue, because I’ve found other titles in my library’s reserve stock.
And Open Library has a nice selection of titles that you can borrow for a fortnight to read online or on a compatible device.
I have some reviews to tempt you – here ten different readers on ten different books:
Jackiemania on ‘The Flowering Thorn’
Farm Lane Books Blog on The Nutmeg Tree
Reading 1900-1950 on ‘The Eye of Love’
Biblioathas on ‘Cluny Brown’
Mary’s Library on ‘Summer Visits’
Fleur in her World (me!) on ‘Four Gardens’
Strange at Ecbatan on ‘The Stone of Chastity’
Clothes in Books on ‘Something Light’
Mystery File on ‘The Tigress on the Hearth’
Leaves and Pages on ‘The Sun in Scorpio’ (and many of her other books)
I do hope that you will find a book and be part of Margery’s birthday party.
Do tell me, and please ask is you have any questions at all.
I think this Is a lovely idea and I am going to join in, you see you caught me at a weak moment and so I just hopped over to abebooks and ordered a cheap copy of The Foolish Gentlewoman.
Oh, good. I’ve not read The Foolish Gentlewoman, but I do like the sound of it.
Why’d I know you’d be the first putting her name down! Do I have to come round your house and glare at your bookshelves?
Nope I do it myself on a daily basis 🙂
I’m in. I’m shocked that my library has six of her books or so they say. I just need to decide which to start with.
I was surprised at how many books my library had, but maybe, because two of them became films, librarians back in the day decided they should be kept. But whatever the reasoning I’m glad that they did.
Okay, it’s between Cluny Brown and The Flowering Thorn. Any comments?
Could someone just reprint “PIE” her first book?It is the rarest and most coveted book ever.Well ok maybe i exaggerate…
That would be lovely. And I have to think that with authors like Stella Gibbons, Margaret Kennedy and Edith Olivier back in print it really is the right time for Margery to brought back too.
I clicked on the SOMETHING LIGHT review only to get a different book(FLOWERING THORN)
Ooops – that was my mistake, but I’ve put it right now.
I have a Margery Sharp lurking somewhere and I’m *sure* I can read it between now and January – I’m in! 🙂
That’s great – I wonder which book it is.
I can’t actually remember – but I *think* it might be The Nutmeg Tree! I shall check later!
I’d like to join with the The Foolish Gentlewoman
That would be lovely, Mystica.
The link for –review of STONE OF CHASTITY does not appear.
That’s strange, it works for me.
But here is another post with a mention of said book – Scott’s ‘Possibly Persephone’ list.
This isn’t an author I’ve read, though I know the name. I’ll see if our libraries have any of her books – though I’m not optimistic, they aren’t good on mid-century British fiction. Luckily there’s also inter-library loan. Do you recommend any one in particular as a good introduction?
Well, my favourite to date is ‘The Innocents’, but I love different works for different reasons. My instinct is to say see what you can find and see if it appeals. Alternatively, Leaves and Pages and The Margery Project would both be excellent guides.
After Margaret Kennedy Reading Week, I would happily come to any author party that you give! 🙂 I think I’ve read Cluny Brown, though it would have been a long time ago. Off to see what I can find.
Thank you – I hope that you enjoy the hunt, and that there’s a lovely book at the end of it.
Thanks Jane–! I have a feeling you are going to accomplish something wonderful for this author we both admire. I have often wondered why Sharp hasn’t caught on in the exciting world of reprints…which would bring her to a whole new audience. Not to mention there is great fodder for movie potential just waiting to be brought to life. Thank you again for hosting this. I can’t wait to see what books people choose! 🙂
Thank you for the inspiration – had I not found The Margery Project when I read The Eye of Love I might not have set out on the path that led to this.. Let’s hope we can do a little to stir up interest, and that reprints will be coming one day soon.
I think I might have to jump on the bandwagon with this. I’ve been meaning to write a proper review of Stone of Chastity and this is a great excuse for a re-read. Plus there’s Foolish Gentlewoman and Nutmeg Tree glaring at me from my TBR shelves… Which one to choose? BTW, love the badge!
That would be wonderful – I remembered you writing about The Stone of Chastity, and I looked to find your review to link but it wasn’t there!
Thank you for the mention – I love Cluny Brown: one of my favourite books. I also recommend The Eye of Love, and really must follow up the ‘Martha’ sequels.
You’re welcome – you really must read the Martha sequels, they’re wonderful books.
Sounds like another author for me to start hunting for. (No luck with my library, alas.) Thanks for the great idea!
I do hope that a book turns up for you, because Margery Sharp is such a good author.
Jane, you have the best ideas! I read The Foolish Gentlewoman about 12 years ago, and haven’t read anything by Sharp since, despite accruing a lot – so this is a fab excuse.
I wasn’t intending to do anything else quite so soon, but when I saw the date and worked out the anniversary I couldn’t resist. I’m very curious to find out what you’ll read and what you’ll think.
Yet again Jane you introduce me to an author I know nothing about, I’m off to investigate what I should read.
I do hope you’ll like her. I think you’d enjoy The Eye of Love – which is in print – and many of her other books. The Margery Project and Leaves & Pages have lots of great reviews if you’d like a little guidance.
And thank you for, once again, being open to trying a new-to-you author.
I’ve done a review of the Foolish Gentlewoman. It will appear on my blog first week of January. I loved the book.
I’m so glad. The anniversary is 25th January, but reading and writing about Margery any time is lovely.
Okay, The Flowering Thorn is on its way to me. I also want to thank you for introducing me to authors I’ve never heard of or read. You provide a valuable service. 🙂
That’s wonderful. I haven’t read The Flowing Thorn – yet – but I’ve read much praise, so I do hope you’ll enjoy it too. I’ve always been more interested in lost gems than the latest bestsellers, and it’s lovely to introduce others to new old books.
This sounds such a marvellous idea! I’ve not read any Margery Sharp before, but I’ve just joined Open Library (what a wonderful site!) and am planning on reading ‘The Nutmeg Tree’ over the holidays. Looking forward to it!
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