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Looking for a Good Laugh

Mapp and Lucia by E. F. Benson

 Lucia, recently widowed, is the newcomer to the village of Tilling and eager to wrest the reins of social supremacy from the incumbant Miss Mapp and install herself as its benevolent dictator. In their polite acts of sabotage and ruthless jockeying for the position of cultural arbiter Mapp and Lucia tear up the conventions of drawing-room bridge evenings as their deadly weapons. Things finally come to a head with Miss Mapp's audacious attempt to steal her rival's celebrated Lobster a la Riseholme. E.F. Benson's charming satrical bent turns the pretensions and snobberies of English village life into a vicious comedy.

Merry Hall by Beverley Nichols

First in a trilogy, Merry Hall is the account of the restoration of a house and garden in post-war England. Though Mr. Nichols's horticultural undertaking is serious, his writing is high-spirited, riotously funny, and, at times, deliciously malicious.

Few aristocratic English families of the twentieth century enjoyed the glamorous notoriety of the infamous Mitford sisters. Nancy Mitford's most famous novels, The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate, satirize British aristocracy in the twenties and thirties through the amorous adventures of the Radletts, an exuberantly unconventional family closely modelled on Mitford's own. The Radletts of Alconleigh occupy the heights of genteel eccentricity, from terrifying Lord Alconleigh (who, like Mitford's father, used to hunt his children with bloodhounds when foxes were not available), to his gentle wife, Sadie, their wayward daughter Linda, and the other six lively Radlett children. Mitford's wickedly funny prose follows these characters through misguided marriages and dramatic love affairs, as the shadow of World War II begins to close in on their rapidly vanishing world.

Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons

Flora Poste, orphaned at twenty, decides to go and live with her relatives at Cold Comfort Farm. Once there she discovers they exist in a state of chaos and feels it is up to her to bring order.

When her husband dies in a car crash--not long after announcing he wants a divorce--Jo Mackenzie packs up her two rowdy boys and moves from London to a dilapidated villa in her seaside hometown where she takes over her beloved Gran's knitting shop. After a rough beginning, Jo soon finds comfort in a "Stitch and Bitch" group--a collection of quirky, lively women who share their stories, and their addiction to cake, with warmth and humor.

Meet Maggie Fortenberry, a still beautiful former Miss Alabama. To others, Maggie's life seems practically perfect--she's lovely, charming, and a successful real estate agent at Red Mountain Realty. Maggie has heartbreaking secrets in her past, but through a strange turn of events, she soon discovers, quite by accident, that everybody, it seems--dead or alive--has at least one little secret. I Still Dream About You is a wonderful novel that is equal parts Southern charm, murder mystery, and that perfect combination of comedy and old-fashioned wisdom that can be served up only by America's own remarkable Fannie Flagg.

a wise, wonderful, and delightfully witty "coming of age" novel about four intrepid women who discover themselves as they were truly meant to be: passionate, alive, and ready to face the best years of their lives. Meet Faye, Marilyn, Alice, and Shirley. Four women with skills, smarts, and secrets--all feeling over the hill and out of the race. But in a moment of delicious serendipity, they meet and realize they share more than raging hormones and lost dreams. 

Excitement abounds when the revolving door of life brings fresh faces and hilarious new developments to the residents of Edinburgh's fictitious 44 Scotland Street.

Shortly after the death of her husband, a wealthy Southern widow is visited by an impoverished young woman with a small boy. A mistress? A son? Julia Springer can't believe it, only to discover that the whole town has known for years. But she will rise to the occasion when the boy is kidnapped.

 Just around the corner from St. Jarlath's Crescent (which readers will recognize from Minding Frankie) is Chestnut Street, where neighbors come and go. Behind their closed doors we encounter very different people with different life circumstances, occupations, and sensibilities. Written with the humor and understanding that are earmarks of Maeve Binchy's work, it is a pleasure to be part of this world with all of its joys and sorrows, to get to know the good and the bad, and ultimately to have our hearts warmed by her storytelling.

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