Pages - 118
Republished by BN Publishing in 2008
Who can I blame for the purchase : Ana from Things Mean Alot
The education given to Flora Poste by her parents had been too expensive, too full of team sports, and too long. So when they died of a sudden illness within a few weeks of each other, during her twentieth year, Flora was discovered to possess every skill except that of earning enough to live on.
Flora, orphaned unexpectedly at 19 and left with little inheritance and no suitable skills for finding a career, decides to write to all her existing relatives to see if anyone will take her in. She is determined to find a strain of her family that needs her to supervise them and change their lifestyle.
Flora receives a cryptic letter from Judith Starkadder, who has expected to hear from Flora for years. A great wrong happened to her father years ago and now Judith feels that they should put it right by taking his daughter in to live with them.
Flora arrives at Cold Comfort Farm in Sussex and begins to alter the lives of the rather eccentric characters living there. Within weeks she has turned the household round and set them all free from the aunt who controls everyone in the household from high up in her locked room.
Oh how I loved this book and I have to say a big thank you to Ana for bringing it to my attention last December. I was enthralled by this book from page one, it was such a delightful read.
Flora is a fantastic lead character within the book and she came across as a cross between Mary Poppins and Nanny McPhee as she carefully evaluates what each family member needs in order to turn their lives around. I can almost see Flora with a magic wand in her hand, waving it over each character, like a fairy godmother and solving each of their problems with ease.
To get a better picture of Flora, here is a quote that describes the way she thinks.
'On the whole, I dislike my fellow-beings; I find them so difficult to understand. But I have a tidy mind, and untidy lives irritate me. Also, they are uncivilized.'
Aunt Ada Doom is a blast. She has convinced the whole family that she is mad and they are too frightened to go against her. She rules the house and every one's finances from her ivory tower and only graces them with her presence once in a blue moon. Her whole madness revolves around one small event in time, 'when she saw something nasty in the woodshed.' Yet Flora soon takes her to hand and even manages to change Aunt Ada's life for the better too.
This wonderful book is a book of parodies, basically sending up a collection of our most classical fiction. Wuthering Heights is the book that it sends up the most, with the sister of the household Elfine resembling Cathy on the lonely moors. Although this is difficult for me to actually see at the moment, as I am only up to chapter six in Wuthering Heights. Also I believe that Aunt Ada Doom is a bit of a take off of a Mrs Rochester in Jane Eyre.
Two followup books were written about Cold Comfort Farm. The first one 'Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm' is a set of short stories which prequel the arrival of Flora at Cold Comfort Farm. The second book 'Conference at Cold Comfort Farm' is a sequel to the book I read and occurs sixteen years after the first one.
In Ana's review over at Things Mean Alot, she mentioned that someone had suggested to her that Cold Comfort Farm held similarities to I Capture the Castle by Dodi Smith. I could understand the connection, as I could feel a similar magical quality to both books. It is hard to explain, but each one has an air of fairytale to it and I would describe both as magical books to read.
This is a fabulous book full of hilarity and magic. It is a relatively short read and a definite must for anyone who loves a happy ending.
Other reviews of this book.
(You can read Ana's review, if you click on her name above)