1930s Chick Lit

The Nutmeg Tree – Margery Sharp

Jane from Fleur Fisher Reads recommended Margery Sharp, as an author who should be read by more people. I struggled to find any of her books as they are now out of print, but then I struck gold and found three all together!

The Nutmeg Tree was first published in 1937 and was probably the 1930s version of chick-lit on its release. It was a lovely, light entertaining read – the perfect antidote to all the depressing books I’ve been subjecting myself to recently.

The story centres on Julia who is widowed after a very short marriage. She decides to leave her daughter, Susan, in the care of her in-laws to pursue a career on the stage. She has no contact with her daughter and is surprised to receive a letter from her twenty years later, begging her to come and visit the family in France.

The point is that I want to get married and Grandmother objects. 

Julia decides to be reunited with her daughter and travels to France at the first opportunity.

The Nutmeg Tree is a heart warming book, packed with details of an English way of life that just doesn’t exist any more. The plot isn’t the best thing I’ve ever read, but it did make me smile!

I would normally have a problem with a character that abandoned her daughter, but for some reason this didn’t really come into it – I loved Julia’s character and just accepted that things were different back then. Julia is such a bold character who finds herself in all sorts of sticky situations – I loved the ingenious ways in which she wormed her way out of trouble and her courtship behaviour was very entertaining.

This book will appeal to fans of Persephone books, and I hope that one day they reprint one of her books as Margery Sharp does deserve to be rediscovered.


Have you ever read anything by Margery Sharp?

Can you recommend any other forgotten authors who are worth seeking out?

39 replies on “The Nutmeg Tree – Margery Sharp”

This sounds like a fun read! I alternate my books, so after I have read a heavy read, I will then read a light book, and vice versa! Thanks for the great post!
Hugs, Bethxx

Simon, My cover is slightly different, but just as lovely! Margery Sharp wrote The Rescuers for Disney, so that is the only reason why you might have heard of her – otherwise she really has been forgotten.

I’m so pleased you liked the book. And relieved! It is such a shame that only The Eye of Love is in print now.

I agree that Margery Sharp would sit well in the Persephone list. And I have suggested her to Faber Finds too, so keep your fingers crossed!

FleurFisher, Thank you so much for recommending her to me. Did you get my email?

It is great that you have already suggested Margery Sharp to Persephone – I hope that they decide to bring her books back into publication.

I’ve never read or heard of the book or author before. The cover is precious! My mom gave me stacks of books she has from the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. I should go through those some time and read a few!

I knew her name looked familiar! I loved The Rescuers when I was a little girl, and haven’t read either of those books in absolutely years. Thanks for the recommendation; I will definitely be trying some of her other books!

This sounds like a nice, light read – I always like to have a stack of those around, because sometimes I just really need something like that, that takes me to a lighter, entertaining world. I just checked and my library doesn’t have any of her books. I think I’ll put one on my Bookmooch wish list!

This sounds like a fun read – although, I wasn’t so sure about the whole mother abandoning daughter thing.

It’s a pity that talented writers go out of print, and finding their books become a mission. I will keep an eye out for her books though, as I haven’t read anything by her…

anothercookiecrumbles, I admit that I was worried when I read the blurb, but it was such a light book that the issues of abandoning a child were never even mentioned. It seemed to be just a plot devise, so it didn’t bother me at all.

I have a copy of Cluny Brown on the shelf, with my mother’s name and 1945 written in it. I haven’t read it, but a little glimpse made me think it might be a little along the Miss Pettigrew line. I believe my library has a few of Sharp’s books.

Nan, I have Miss Pettigrew here, but haven’t read it yet – I’m going to make sure I pick it out next time I’m in need of some light relief from dark books. I hope you enjoy Cluny Brown – I haven’t got that one, but would be interested to hear your thought on it.

I have never heard of her, but I am adding this to my wishlist. I like books set in this era–particularly light reads. I don’t suppose this has been reissued in a modern edition? Maybe Bloomsbury would publish it, too!

Danielle, I’m afraid that this hasn’t been reissued as a modern edition and is currently out of print. I’d love any publisher to reprint it, so fingers crossed they decide to do so.

If you liked The Nutmeg Tree, you will like Margery Sharp’s “Cluny Brown” and “Brittania Mews,” (both made into movies) and perhaps the Martha Books. My favorite is “Something Light.”

I also like D.E. Stevenson’s books very much (I have collected all of them, which was not easy), Nancy Mitford, and Angela Thirkell. I often wonder what those ladies thought of each other and try to imagine them together at a tea party.

Virginia, Sorry for missing your comment – I assume it got lost in the Christmas celebrations.

I have a copy of Britannia Mews and so look forward to reading it sometime soon. I haven’t read any Nancy Mitford, but I keep seeing her name and so I think I’ll get one of her books if I see it on my rounds.

I watched the movie version today on TCM. Loved the movie. What brought it to my attention is the fact that Greeg Garson was starring in it. She is one of my favorite “stars”. At the end of the movie I saw that it was based on a novel “The Nutmeg Tree”. I did not get the authors name so I looked it up by the title. Thanks for the post about it. I will be requesting from the library soon.

Lola, I didn’t realise there was a movie version of this. I’m not sure I’d enjoy watching it – might be too cheesy for me?
but if I spot it on TV then I’ll give it a go. Thanks for letting me know about it 🙂

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