Skip to main content

No Fond Return of Love by Barbara Pym

I was introduced to Barbara Pym by chance as her books often appear side by side with Anita Brookner, Rosamond Lehmann and a handful of English women authors that I love.

Her characters are most often vulnerable, albeit a bit lonely, sometimes gliding in unnoticed and yet their presence magnifies over time. In moments like this, it is when we recognize a bit of ourselves in them.

In No Fond Return of Love, we meet a heroine who seemed a bit worn around the edges, lives alone in her parents' big house at the London suburb and does the 'thankless task' of indexing for published authors. When she attends a weekend seminar, a needed break from the down spell of a broken engagement, she made new acquaintances and developed renewed interest as she began to be intertwined in their lives.

Dulcie is a kindred character (though first impressions would cast her as a mild and boring type) but behind the gentle, if not faded, appearance lies a rather droll streak and curiosity veiled by politeness (accustomed to the repressed English ways) and the goodness of her heart. She is keen to see the good in people despite their doubtful sincerity.

There have been comparisons of Pym to Jane Austen on the study of society figures. Austen will always be a classic, her work filled with wit and the bright charms of the lush English countryside. The liveliness of Austen's flair for storytelling is more presented on Pym's characters and their musings. Her comic timings are on point and unexpected.

Pym draws portraits of the middle-class society with irony and humor while at the same time gently skewers us with pitying, if not sad, truths. Her characters are, in one way or the other, has these little unfulfilled yearnings. People who could not seem to reach their fullest potential. It leaves them a bit resigned, a bit restless, a bit wanting for more which is like most of us in this entire world.

It was bittersweet and subtle. A quiet tale of the idiosyncrasies of love and unexpected joys of life despite the mundane routine of our day-to-day lives. I don't know why I like that things aren't as clear cut as most often wanted books to be (like the way Woolf gave cited the beauty of Chekhov's works). In a way it displays the inconsistencies, or the constancy of failings of being human. This study of realness in character I think is what makes Pym such an interesting read and funny, too.

I have read this book twice and it just feels more delightful each time. The last page really got to me and the overwhelming response filled me with such mixed emotions as I finished it.


In No Fond Return of Love, Pym introduces Dulcie Mainwaring, one of those seemingly selfless women who always help others and never look out for themselves, especially in matters of love. When Dulcie's young niece becomes the object of absentminded Professor Aylwin Forbes's amorous designs, Dulcie whisks away her friend Viola — who has her own designs on the professor — to the seaside in Taviscombe to discover the hidden secrets of the Forbes clan and a mysterious castle on the hill.

The Times Literary Supplement praised Barbara Pym (1913-1980) as “the most underrated writer of the century.”

Title: No Fond Return of Love
Author: Barbara Pym
Published: January 22, 2015
Publisher: Open Road Media
Rating: ♨♨♨♨♨ (5 cups - Gentle and quiet but there are moments of overwhelming power and hilarity.)


  1. I love Barbara Pym's quiet...almost restorative...for me at least... novels. Every now and then when life gets too busy..I need a Pym fix!

    1. Yes, I absolutely agree. I love the pace of her writing and the way she sort of brings out feelings of relief.


Post a Comment

Have Your Say!

Popular posts from this blog

Release Day: Bohemian by Kathryn Nolan

RATING/REVIEW: ☕☕☕☕ (4 cups of soothing, slow burn romance!)
Bohemian is a modern day love story about two very different people whose common love for the written word brings them together and in the end may drive them apart.  Lucia and Calvin never would have met in the same place except for the presence of The Mad Ones, an old fashioned bookstore found in the beautiful area of Big Sur.  Lucia is a supermodel, at the age of 26 what use to thrill her has been leaving her bored almost.  When a scheduled shoot in an old fashioned bookstore suddenly fans the flames of her love of reading she starts yearning for more.  Calvin inherited The Mad Ones from his beloved grandfather.  His grandfather's love of reading and his lifestyle has always brought joy to a young Calvin but he never really subscribed to that way of life.  When he meets Lucia he might have been starstruck for a bit.  What does a geeky nerd like him have in common with a beautiful woman like her.  When he finds out they …

Blog Tour: Ride With Me by Ashley Hastings: Review plus Giveaway!

RIDE WITH ME by Ashley HastingsPublication Date: April 5, 2018 Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Rating/Review: ☕☕☕ 1/2 (3.5 cups of funny and sweet but sexy romance) Ride with Me pairs up a sexy cop and a sweet nerdy but adorable grad student who spend their time getting to know each other through a ridealong.  But first they had the most unique meet cute involving car chases!  Who can beat that?!  Lucy and Grayson may not appear to be compatible but in Ride with Me they definitely hit the right notes together. Sweet, short and funny, Ride with Me is a lighthearted read that would put a smile in any romance readers face.

BUY NOW!Amazon: with #KindleUnlimited) Paperback:

SYNOPSIS:A bad boy cop and a straight-laced student are about to go on the ride of their lives… He’s the law, but she’s the one making the rules. Graduate student Lucy wants order and predictability in her life. She always has a list to consult and a plan to execute. Poli…

Review Post: Fool Me Once by Catherine Bybee

Rating/Review: ☕☕☕☕ 1/2 (4.5 cups, this romantic suspense will give new meaning to The First Wives Club)
You never know what you really would be getting when reading a Catherine Bybee book.  On the outside, each book can definitely hold its own as a great contemporary romance novel.  Read a little bit further, you get well-defined, multilayered characters and a romantic suspense in the making. Pretty soon you will be amazed on the intricate storyline balanced well with the main characters developing romance.  Fool Me Once is definitely a Catherine Bybee book.  The first in her new series, First Wives,  Fool Me Once is also a spinoff from her popular Weekday Bride series.  And yet again, Ms. Bybee delivers in her great characters, well thought out plot and melding her two series together without one overpowering the other.
The story starts out as the head of Alliance and their legal go to person, Lori try to help one of their client who unexpectedly lost her husband.  To get her away …