Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Review: Laughter on the Stairs by Beverley Nichols

I know I've already waxed rhapsodic about the first book in Beverley Nichols' Merry Hall trilogy (aptly titled Merry Hall) but I plan to be equally enthusiastic about this second book of the trilogy. This book focuses a bit more on the actual home that Nichols bought and its piecemeal restoration while the first detailed much of his fascination with bringing his gardens back to life. Like his previous book though, this is not nearly as boring as it sounds when I put it out there like this. It is a thoroughly delightful and entertaining book complete with more charming anecdotes about his eccentric neighbors, the previous owner whose taste was clearly egregious, and everyone else in Nichols' orbit. I truly wish I could have met Mr. Nichols (although he would likely have gently skewered me just as he does his other neighbors) and been a visitor to Merry Hall. I wouldn't even have asked for a cutting of his gorgeous flowers like his other much maligned, but fondly recalled nonetheless, female visitors. I truly don't know how to entice people to read these wonderfully witty and sly books since calling them garden books or estate books makes them seem far too tame and dull to do them any justice whatsoever. Suffice it to say, if you have any fondness for well-written, charm-laden non-fiction without event-driven narrative, you should read these. Even better if you happen to be a bit of an Anglophile. You can thank me later.


  1. Neato! I had no idea he'd written non-fiction. I read the Tree that Sat Down trilogy (multiple times) years ago and loved them, but somehow never looked for more...

  2. I liked your earlier review of Lucky Girl by Mei-Ling Hopgood. I'm posting my own review on Saturday, May 2nd. Joseph from .


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