Susan Settles Down by Molly Clavering


This is one of those inter-war upper-middle-class domestic novels in which not an awful lot actually happens, but it’s generally quite a nice gentle read.  Susan and her brother Oliver, who’s been invalided out of the Navy, move from London to rural Scotland after Oliver conveniently inherits a large house from a rich godfather, as people in books do.  Susan, despite having a close male friend, is very independent-minded, isn’t bothered about getting married, and doesn’t particularly want to move to the countryside, but obviously a single male can’t possibly manage on his own.  They soon meet their neighbour Jed, who is a bit rough and ready but is actually very bright and has a heart of gold, and his niece, the minister’s sweet daughter Peggy, who’s in her late teens.  You can probably guess how it all ends up 😉 ..

Jed is being linked by the local gossips to an old flame of his.  Meanwhile, Peggy has two admirers.  One is quite nice but she isn’t really that keen on him.  The other is a bad lot – this is the one sinister element of the book, as he behaves quite threateningly towards Peggy, and, although it isn’t spelt out, seems to have seduced her late sister’s children’s nursemaid, who later dies, apparently of having been out in bad weather.  There are three gossipy spinsters, and various other local “characters”.

There are various parties, visits and misunderstandings, until, of course, Susan and Jed get together , Oliver and Peggy get together, and everyone presumably lives happily ever after.  As I said, not much happens, but it’s not a bad read.


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