High Rising by Angela Thirkell.
A lovely little bon-bon of a book. Thank you Steven Riddle for the suggestion!!!
Published in 1933, it is a contemporary (to that time) story of a widow, Laura Morland, who writes fashion novels, and the characters who live around her in High Rising, a town in the fictional county of Barsetshire. (Yes, the same fictional place Trollope used!) "The local doctor loves the secretary, who is in love with Miss Knox's father, who appears to be in love with Laura, whose housekeeper is the subject of the village mechanic's intentions." Oh, and there's ANOTHER secretary in love with Mr. Knox, a small boy obsessed with trains, and a publisher in love with Miss Knox. How will it all work out?
Funny, appealing, charming. Nothing earth shattering, nothing nasty. Perfect summer reading. Here's a sample:
Laura shut the door and reeled downstairs. Four weeks of this to come. Nearer five than four. Thank heaven it was country, where he would be out all day, and would certainly amuse himself. Oh, the exhaustingness of the healthy young! Laura had once offered to edit a book called Why I Hate my Children, but though Adrian Coates had offered her every encouragement, and every mother of her acquaintance had offered to contribute, it had never taken shape. Perhaps, she thought, as she stood by Tony's bed an hour later, they wouldn't be so nice if they weren't so hateful.
There lay her demon son, in abandoned repose. His cheeks so cool and firm in the day, had turned to softest rose-petal jelly, and looked as if they might melt upon the pillow. His mouth was fit for poets to sing. His hands--spotlessly clean for a brief space--still had dimples where later bony knckles would be. Foxy was pressed to his heart, while Neddy, taking, as Tony had predicted, the middle of the bed, had pushed his master half over the edge.
Laura picked up the heavy, deeply unconscious body, and laid it back in the middle of the bed. Neddy she put revengefully on the table. Then she tucked the bedclothes in, kissed her adorable hateful child, who never stirred, and turning out the light, left the room.
Typical English hyperbole. Absolutely wonderful.