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Excellent Women


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Book Excerpt: 
. . .A Bill was accordingly brought in for excluding the Duke of York from the crown, which passed the House of Commons, but was thrown out by the Lords, to whom it was carried up by Lord Russell, attended by nearly the whole of the Commons. About the same time Lords Shaftesbury, Russell, and Cavendish presented the Duke of York to the grand jury for Middlesex at Westminster Hall, as indictable, being a Popish recusant. In January, 1680-1, the Commons resolved that "until a Bill be passed for excluding the Duke of York, they could not vote any supply, without danger to His Majesty and extreme hazard to the Protestant religion."

Things had come to this crisis after years of arbitrary power, and the humiliation of England in its king being a pensioner of Louis XIV. As far back as 1669 a secret treaty was made with France, Charles engaging to declare war against Holland, France to pay the king £800,000 annually and make a division of the conquests, of which France wo. . . Read More

Community Reviews

I had such high hopes that I would love this book, and I did, so very much.

So many people had said that it was so good, that it was Barbara Pym’s best book, and when I realised that it was the story of a spinster, in her thirties in the fifties, my mind went spinning back.

Not to the fifties – I’m...more

I am honestly not sure what to make of this book. I initially discovered this book (and author) through a random Amazon-crawl, where I assume it was recommended to me based on some of my other highly-rated books. I vaguely remember reading that Excellent Women was satirical, funny, biting, etc.,...more

I've read this many times and have both a kindle version and a paperback. Barbara Pym wrote about ordinary women leading ordinary lives. They don't have interesting, exciting jobs or adventures and their personal lives consist of doing flowers for the church or manning a booth at a church fete. T...more

Aside from a few differences--living in the 1950s, being British, not being a teacher, being actively involved in church--Mildred Lathbury could easily be me. She's in her early 30s, she's unmarried, people keep telling her about their problems and expecting her to fix them, men think she's in lo...more

Mildred me ha conquistado! :D

This review first appeared on my blog Shoulda Coulda Woulda Books.

Awhile ago, I asked for recommendations for books that take place in small villages. I'd just done a re-read of Emma and followed that up with An Accomplished Woman, and I was really enjoying the scale of the worlds and the consequ...more

I am re-reading Barbara Pym's books this summer to lift my spirits as I recover from physical injury. I find I can only take so much emotional stress before I retreat to her closely observed lives full of the quotidian routines of the women who are the backbone of the Anglican Church. Flower arra...more

With a sweetness reminiscent of Edith Wharton's gorgeous "The Age of Innocence," "Excellent Women" is proof, not solely of female excellence, but of the overall human goodness. Nothing short of miraculous, this novel about a wallflower who knows just how shitty men can often treat their counterpa...more

“...I told myself that, after all, life was like that for most of us - the small unpleasantness rather than the great tragedies; the little useless longings rather than the great renunciations and dramatic love affairs of history or fiction.”

“Let me hasten to add that I am not at all like Jane E...more

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