A Glass of Blessings by Barbara Pym

Wilmet Forsyth is a contentedly comfortable, youngish married woman who lives with her very nice husband, Rodney, and her energetic mother-in-law in the suburbs of London. She attends church and shops, but doesn’t really have much else to occupy her time. In essence, she is bored. So, when her best friend’s handsome, suave and mysterious brother, Piers Longridge, enters her life she sees him as a chance to bring some excitement and novelty into her life. Piers is as opposite to Rodney as is possible – he’s unreliable, prickly, can’t hold down a respectable job and admires Wilmet’s beauty and sense of style in a way that Rodney hasn’t for years. She develops an innocent infatuation with him and, though she knows it’s slightly foolish, she spends hours dreaming of ways she can see him again. But Piers isn’t the man she thought he was and she realizes that “there was no reason why my own life should not be a glass of blessings too. Perhaps it always had been without my realizing it.”

Pym’s typical understated humor sustains this charming story and it totally melted my heart. I love Wilmet – she’s smart and honest and good, though she doesn’t believe that about herself. I like her almost as much as I like Mildred Lathbury from Excellent Women. I also love the fascinating mixture of vicars, elderly spinsters, eccentric churchwardens, and other great characters that inhabit her novels. They bring color and vibrancy to all of her books.

These lovely novels are not naive, but they do have an admirable innocence that suits my reading tastes. Out of the four Pym’s I’ve now read I believe that this is my second favorite, after Excellent Women. Have you read Barbara Pym yet? If not, what are you waiting for?

17 thoughts on “A Glass of Blessings by Barbara Pym

  1. Anbolyn, I love Barbara Pym and have read most of her books, except this one! Now I will take it off my book shelf and read it immediately after your lovely review. It’s so nice to “know” a fellow Barbara Pym fan. She is one of my very favorite writers and I have read “Excellent Women” many times. Thank you for directing me to “A Glass of Blessings.”


    1. I’m happy to hear you loved Excellent Women – it has become one of my all-time favorite books. I hope you can experience more of her writing. I recommend continuing with this or with Jane & Prudence.


  2. I’ve only read Excellent Women which I loved. I did get a couple more Pyms via Paperback Swap, but I haven’t them yet — Crampton Hodnet and Quartet in Autumn. I really should read them soon.


  3. I’ve just finished this, and it’s my 4th Pym, and Excellent Woman is still my favourite, too. But this comes a close second. How that woman could write – seemingly about nothing, and the smallest, dullest people, and make them subjects of wit, irony and compassion.

    I’ve become a bit obsessed, and have to pace myself by alternately reading other authors, though when the Pyms run out I shall definitely be re-reading.


    1. Oh, Cindy, I am right there with you! I am also kind of obsessed with Pym. She is just so marvelous and I can’t wait to read the rest of her novels. I usually don’t like to re-read books, but I can see myself reading Pym for the rest of my life.
      Thanks for stopping by!


  4. Less Than Angels is ready to go for this weekend’s reading. Always glad to see another reader of Pym. Lisa May at TBR313 mentioned you for Book Blogger Appreciation Week, and I’m glad to be introduced to your blog.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s