November Tea and a Book: The Lark, by E. Nesbit

Nov 9, 2022

Continuing with novels written by women in the early 20th century, November’s Tea and a Book offers The Lark (1922), a mostly adult novel written by famed children’s author, E. Nesbit, who wrote such classics as The Treasure Seekers, The Wouldbegoods, Five Children and It, and The Railway Children. In fact, she wrote or collaborated on more than 60 books. She also was co-founder of the Fabian Society, a socialist organization later affiliated with the Labour Party. Nesbit was a very unique woman — learn more by reading this article from The Guardian.

Synopsis (shared from Goodreads):
It’s 1919 and Jane and her cousin Lucilla leave school to find that their guardian has gambled away their money, leaving them with only a small cottage in the English countryside. [Note from Sonia — how could I resist this description?] In an attempt to earn their living, the orphaned cousins embark on a series of misadventures – cutting flowers from their front garden and selling them to passers-by, inviting paying guests who disappear without paying – all the while endeavouring to stave off the attentions of male admirers, in a bid to secure their independence.

My thoughts:
This is a sweet little caper, and I so enjoyed it. What could be better than inheriting a cottage in the country? It doesn’t come with any income, but soon enough our enterprising heroines are scheming ways to support themselves. They make mistakes, of course, and find themselves swindled a time or two, but they also build relationships with the locals and offer paying jobs to those still recovering from the horrors of the Great War. I loved the friendships that were formed and, in particular, a romance that starts to bloom in the very first chapter and . . . well, you’ll just have to see for yourself. 😀

A favorite passage, in which Jane counsels Lucilla to reject the distractions of romance:

We’ve got our livings to make, and we don’t want young men hanging round, paying attentions and addresses and sighing and dying and upsetting everything. If he likes to be a good chum I don’t mind, but the minute I see any signs of philandering, the least flicker of a sheep’s eye, we’ll drop Mr. Rochester, if you don’t mind.

And now for tea:

Today I’m featuring one of my very favorite teas, Pleine Lune from Mariage Freres — “Inspired by that heavenly body and the realm of dreams, this poetic blend combines fragrances evoking the feast of the full moon: fruits, rare spices, and the sweet taste of almonds.” I’m certain Jane and Lucilla would have found it a rare and lovely treat!

Stay tuned for December’s “Tea and a Book”! Hoping to find something with a bit of holiday cheer.

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