Thursday, March 26, 2009

Review: Merry Hall by Beverley Nichols

The first in a trilogy, this lovely book chronicles Nichols' search for and purchase of a country freehold not too far from London where he can garden. Taking place not too long after the end of the Second World War, not only is this a delightful and enchanting book about plants and gardening, but it is awonderful snapshot of a time long since past. Nichols' garden is his main focus but he also introduces the reader to his eccentric neighbors, his elderly gardener, and various other people about the place. He discusses the folly and joys that came with purchasing his estate. And he generally injects enough light humor in all areas that this was a wonderful, completely appealing read. There are certainly instances that firmly place this in its time period but it has aged well and was a wonderfully diverting book to cozy in with for an afternoon. I have to actually physically restrain myself from jumping immediately into the second book in the trilogy, wanting to draw out the pleasure a bit by savoring the anticipation of an equally lovely amount of time spent with it. And don't skip over this book thinking that you aren't a gardener and don't want to read about gardening. Anyone who lights a hedge on fire on purpose and scorches the heck out of his new albeit slightly dilapidated home should be able to entertain any and all non-fiction readers with ease.

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