The 1930 Club: Books Past, Present and Future

Karen and Simon made a very wise choice when they landed their time travelling book club in 1930.

I found that I had read a lot of books that I could warmly recommend from that year, that I could pluck a very special book from that year from its shelf, and that I had a few books from that year that wouldn’t fit into that year that it was lovely to remember

The Past

These are the 1930 books from my blogging years – here and from the old place – that I am happy to recollect and recommend:

Imagine my delight when I found an old copy of High Wages by Dorothy Whipple long before the Persephone reissue, and when I found that the heroine shared my name. My expectations were high, and the story more than lived up to them.

Agatha Christie’s The Murder at the Vicarage – the first appearance by Miss Jane Marple in a novel – needs no introduction, so I shall simply say that it stood up to re-reading very well indeed.

The Fool of the Family is the follow-up to one of the most popular novels of the twenties –  The Constant Nymph by Margaret Kennedy – and though it was not a success I am very fond of this tale of a lesser light of a family of musicians.

I was shy The Diary of a Provincial Lady by E M Delafield for a long time, because its heroine was so very popular, but when I finally picked my book up I understood why and was smitten too.

I spotted Spiderweb by Alice Campbell in a line of green penguins, and I found that though the mystery was simple I enjoyed spending time in Paris and living through the story with an engaging cast of characters.

I can warmly recommend Kingdom Lost by Patricia Wentworth to anyone who enjoys romantic suspense. It’s a distinctive story and it was a delight to spend time with its wonderful heroine.

Doctor Serocold by Helen Ashton is an account of one day in the life of a country doctor – long before the NHS – and it does a wonderful job of illuminating his life and the world around him.

It is said that Vita Sackville-West was targeting popular success when she wrote the The Edwardians, and that it was inspired by real life and the changing times. It’s a lovely period piece, and a book that still has something to say.

Dead Man’s Quarry by Ianthe Jerrold is a wonderfully readable Golden Age mystery, set in Wales, with an engaging cast, an intriguing plot, and just a little bit of silliness at the end.

The Present

The first book that I chose was a very big book and it was a disappointment, but every cloud has a silver lining and I have a gap on a bookshelf that will hold two regular sized book.

My second book the one I described as ‘the book that I had thought would always be just out of reach’ and I have to tell you that it is a joy to read.

It begins like this:

The Laventies’ garden was unusual in Sussex, being planted French-fashion with green-barked limes, eight rows of eight trees at a distance of six feet. The shady grass between them was dappled in due season with crocus, daffodil and wild hyacinth, but they had no successors. All the other flowers were in the lower garden, where Ann’s tenth birthday party was drawing to a rapturous close.

The young Gayfords were even then being led out of the great gate in the west wall, a gate almost as wide as the garden itself and surviving from the days before the stables had gone to make way for rhododendrons. It was of iron, man-wrought, with a beautiful design of fruit and foliage, and Mr Laventie used it as his back door.

With the departure of the guests a change came over the garden: the Laventie family settled back into itself with a breath of content. They had been exquisitely, lavishly hospitable, but when Dick pulled to the gate and leant back against it it was as though he barred our every everything that could mar the beauty of the hour.

“Now!” said Elizabeth.

The Future

These are the 1930 books that I most want to read, but that I know won’t fit into this week:

As problems go, it’s a good one to have ….

Are there any books from 1930 – these or others – that you would particularly recommend?

10 thoughts on “The 1930 Club: Books Past, Present and Future

  1. I loved High Wages and of course the Provincial Lady. The Denis Mackail looks interesting – I’ve only read his Greenery Street novels, which I do actually need to read again. I have plans for a big chunk of re-reading one day … one day …


  2. I haven’t read any of these and they sound interesting! I can’t wait to try them! I confess I am NOT up on my 30’s titles, so I had to dig a little. The Hobbit is one of my favorite 1930’s reads, but perhaps that is a little out of your wheelhouse? I’m trying to wrack my brain for any American 30’s books. Maybe Gone with the Wind?


  3. It’s a vintage year, isn’t it? Miss Mole and Rhododendron Pie are such delights! I’m hoping to post on The Edwardians later this week but I’m running out of time…

    Happy reading Jane 🙂


  4. What a beautiful lot of books! The Square Circle is a corker, I loved Greenery Street and didn’t know he had written any others, to say nothing of the Whipple. . .


  5. Such a bee-yoo-tee-full copy of High Wages: love! In fact, your collage, overall, is just lovely.

    I’d overlooked the idea of The Edwardians: good one! And it’s inspiring to see that you’ve already got a line-up for a 1930 Redux, when the mood strikes.

    Enjoy the week’s reading (and all those attractive editions).


  6. Initially I thought I wouldn’t have many books from that year, but I found more than I expected, and when I checked what was published, and looked at other people’s choices I was quite surprised. , I wish I’d been better organised, but I was short of time. Now,like you. I’ve got a little stack of unread 1930 books; books that I’ve read but didn’t have time to write about, and books that I want to read, so I’m also planning to keep going with The 1930 Club in the weeks ahead.


  7. I really enjoyed this post, such an original way to approach 1930. (My own contribution was a standard review of After Leaving Mr MacKenzie by Jean Rhys). I highly recommend Miss Mole, btw.
    Caroline (Bookword)


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