'A delightful memoir' Kate Saunders, The Times 'Fabulous . . . dazzling' Tatler 'Enchanting . . . movingly lyrical' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, Country Life This short volume has turned out to be merely a handful of recollections of well-remembered times and stories - some probably misremembered, too - and a few people who have played a crucial part in my life. And some confessions: I have never before tried to write about my doll phobia, for instance, or about the effect synaesthesia has had over the years. I can only hope that this collection of stories from times past might give some idea of a mostly happy life that has gone, and is going, much too fast. At the age of five Angela Huth decided she would become a writer. Hers was an idiosyncratic childhood. Her parents were known to be a highly glamorous couple: Harold was a famous actor and film director who possessed legendary charm; Bridget was known for her lively sense of humour, fluency in foreign languages and her penchant for giving memorable parties. But in spite of her parents' initial happiness, they parted after the war. Eleven years later they got back together, happily, though each would have a lover for decades. After her education ended prematurely - Bridget didn't believe in university for women - Angela Huth went from reluctant debutante to professional writer, switching from journalism to short stories, novels, plays for television and the stage. Praise for Angela Huth: 'A first-class writer' Sunday Telegraph 'There is a very strong case for Huth replacing Jane Austen on the school syllabus' Sunday Times 'Angela Huth knows her own range and writes within it; she is an excellent exponent of the traditional English social comedy . . . she is in perfect control' Daily Telegraph
Estranged from her second husband, Jonathan, Clare Lyall is less sure than ever about the role men should play in her life. Her first husband, Richard, was much older than her, and his casual disregard for youth gradually hardened into indifference. And Jonathan, if anything, was too easy - too attentive, too concerned, and just a little too pedantic. So when she meets Joshua Heron at a party, the offbeat Clare isn't exactly thirsting for love. But she is mildly impressed when Joshua stubs his cigarette out on his thumb, and swayed still further by the advice of her new friend, the indomitable Mrs Fox. 'Take a lover,' she says, 'it's better to have a lover when you're young than neurosis when you're old...' Gentle, wistful and wry, Nowhere Girl is a beautifully controlled love story from the Booker Prize winning author of The Elected Member.
First published in 1996, this collection of stories tells of the ghost of a doomed romance haunting an Oxford undergraduate's idyllic summer affair; a tragedy of hopeless love and murderous frustration is played out against the backdrop of a provincial repertory company; passion and hatred flower side by side in suburban back gardens. Angela Huth peoples her stories with elderly ladies living out extraordinary fantasy lives and betrayed wives wreaking subtle revenge, drawing out their secret disappointments and their dreams of glamour; she brings to this exquisite collection all the wry delicacy, subversive wit and keen eye for the drama of the quietest lives that characterise her acclaimed novels.
George Elkin has loyally trained as a solicitor in order to follow in his father's footsteps and run the family firm. But when his father dies, George resolves to follow his heart instead, looking after the West Country farm he grew up on. With the help of neighbours, his childhood friends Prodge and Nell, George is sure he can adapt to a rural lifestyle. Nell holds feelings for George she has kept hidden since their childhood and has long had the hope that their friendship would develop into something stronger. But then Lily, a woman George knew in his Oxford days, comes to stay and changes all of their lives and it seems that Nell's hopes will forever remain unfulfilled. Meanwhile, the rural community is facing a threat to its very existence: BSE, foot and mouth, government proposals on hunting - each crisis straining farmers and their livelihoods to breaking-point. And George and Prodge are faced with the awful knowledge that their future is out of their hands ...
The married couples in this book have two things in common: a skill in the duplicity that flourishes even in happy marriages, and an invitation to the Farthingoes' ball. In the months preceding the party, we learn something of their double lives: the faces that each one exposes to their spouses and to the world give little hint of their complex and secret tribulations. By the time they arrive at the ball, each clutching his or her different hopes and fears, we have become familiar with their unsmooth paths, and shared many a humorous escapade or private tragedy with Rachel and Thomas, Mary and Bill, Ursula and Martin, Frances and Toby, as well as the alluring R. Cotterman and the only questing bachelor, Ralph. Sophisticated, sympathetic, witty and razor-sharp in its observations of the sub-text of married life, this is a wonderfully accomplished and enjoyable novel which develops totally out of the characters it creates.
The characters in Angela Huth's marvellous collection of stories are all winners or losers in the game of love: from the two friends competing in a gruelling cross-country marathon for the man they both wish to marry, to the lonely Cheltenham widow abandoning all decorum after too many Irish Coffees; from a seaside donkey owner giving away his favourite animal for the sake of a pair of sad grey eyes, to the husband taking up secret dancing lessons to please his dance-mad wife. A shrewd observer of human foibles with a fine sense of the comic and absurd, Angela Huth has written a blissfully entertaining, poignant and funny book of stories, which explore the nature and difficulties of love.
This is a sparkling collection of short stories, dealing with love, loss and the tiny happenings that make up our everyday experience. Her most brilliant stories are about successful couples who own comfortable houses, enjoy interesting lives, raise attractive children - and commit adultery. On the other hand, the author is equally concerned with the old, the lonely and the hard-up, perceiving the exiguous sources from which they derive their hope or consolation and the last straws which drive them to despair. Like an experienced naturalist, she moves invisibly through social undergrowth, observing the quirks of human fauna, solitary, coupling, flocking, moulting, displaying or dying. Angela Huth has the gift of infiltrating the lives and minds of her characters whatever their age and social background.
South of the Lights weaves the story of Evans and Brenda, lovers in a Midlands village, whose happiest hours are spent in the hayloft of the chicken farm on which she works. They have no other roof under which they can be alone together - until the mysterious, romantic Augusta comes to their aid. Evans' desire to possess Brenda results sometimes in passion, sometimes in violence, but Brenda finds sympathy in the company of the fragile and sweet-natured Lark with whom she shares a flat in the local town. Excelling in the illumination of the surprising facets of people's daily lives, Angela Huth reveals their private hopes, rages, fantasies and despair, with an original and moving blend of humour, imagination and pathos.
Disasters, disappointments, dashed hopes ... Doesn't seem that easy, just to find a good man, love him and be loved back. But I shan't give up trying. The war is over, but life goes on for Land Girls Prue, Stella and Ag. While two of the girls are married, Prue, the incorrigible flirt, has no one and is engaged in a quest for a man to provide her with security and gold taps. A year after the girls leave Hallows Farm, Prue finds just such a man and a marriage that protects her from the hardships of post-war Manchester. But she still hankers for the life she so loved as a Land Girl, though it's hard to get work on the sort of farm that provided unimaginable happiness during the war. The lives of her two old friends, Stella and Ag, have moved on and neither visit her. Additionally Prue finds that her newly wedded state and fresh horizons fail to supply the answers she seeks. Yet, in the puzzling world beyond the fields, Prue, in her indomitable way, open as ever to each chance encounter, remains buoyant, optimistic and quite sure that the life she imagines is just round yet another corner. Praise for Land Girls: 'A first-class writer' Sunday Telegraph 'Riveting ... evocative and entertaining' Daily Mail 'Huth's controlled, eloquent style has been compared to Jane Austen's, but her talent is entirely original' The Times 'Piquant, witty and entertaining' Tatler 'Huth is a master of this sort of novel, steeped in period atmosphere and gentle irony' Daily Telegraph 'A good story, told with wit and a keen observation of detail' Times Literary Supplement
With the country's men at war, it falls to the land girls to pitch in and do their bit... Stella arrives at Hallows Farm in her Rayon stockings, having just waved goodbye to the love of life - naval officer Philip. Agatha has just graduated from Cambridge; life on the Farm is certainly going to offer her a different kind of education. Prue, a hairdresser from Manchester, is used to painting the town red, not manual labour. Joe dreams of leaving the family farm and becoming a fighter pilot. But with the arrival of these three beautiful young women, there's enough to keep him busy on the farm for the time being... Work is hard and the effects of war start to take their toll on the three women. But as the bonds of friendship start to form and excitement builds as the RAF dance looms, maybe life in the countryside isn't so bad after all?
The Handles have one of those quiet, suburban marriages that has ticked along for decades without anything very momentous happening. William, a distinguished violinist and leader of the Elmtree Quartet, and Grace, a modest watercolorist, enjoy a serence, domestic routine where easy silence, an acceptance of each other's ways, is the norm. The two spend each day in their respective corners of the house--William upstairs practicing, and Grace downstairs working on her latest wildflower illustration--and they even take careful steps to prevent a chance encounter. For what do people who've been married that long say when they meet on the stairs? But just as quickly as their routine emerges, it is yanked away by the winds of change.When the long-serving viola player resigns from William's quartet, the Elmtree hires Bonnie, a brilliant young player with perfect dimples and an ample bosom. In no time, William is smitten. Meanwhile, Grace's days have become enlivened by visits from Lucien, a troubled young man who lives down the street with the mothers he loathes. Though his presence unnerves Grace, he provides her days with a bittersweet frisson, and before long, she is captivated. As William and Grace secretly find their hearts tugged in opposite directions, the once-cozy couple moves closer to confrontation. But with the introduction of sudden menace, the story takes a darker turn--until real-life horror explodes and a murderous twist sends their world spinning.From the acclaimed author of Land Girls and Wives of the Fishermen comes an elegant, if shocking, dissection of a middle-class marriage. In Easy Silence, Huth combines remarkable insight with biting wit to create a delicious black comedy.
Returning somewhat tipsy from a friends wedding. Alice announces she has met Edward and Laura whom she has invited to dinner. Edward is Alice's old flame and Laura and Tom had a brief pre-marital affair - four ex-lovers meeting after twenty years, where's the harm? But they arrive with Mary with whom Tom had a passionate affair. Will Tom's and Alice's seemingly secure marriage survive the seductive onslaught of Mary who is determined to get Tom?