Tea or Books? #12: happy vs sad endings, and Elizabeth and Her German Garden vs The Enchanted April


Tea or Books logoHappy endings? Sad endings? And a couple of Elizabeth von Arnim novels – we have a fun, albeit somewhat sickly episode. It makes me think of my favourite, my-missed sitcom Happy Endings, but we’re actually talking about whether we prefer books to be cheerful or miserable at the end (or, indeed, something in between). Spoilers alert, unsurprisingly – and thanks, Faith, for your suggestion. In the second half of the podcast, we talk about one of our favourite writers, Elizabeth von Arnim, and stage a battle between her two most famous novels, Elizabeth and Her German Garden and The Enchanted April.

I had to cut out a lot of coughing, so apologies if things are a bit disjointed. I left a few coughs in for effect.

Do head over to our iTunes page (why not leave us a review?!) or download through a podcast app, or listen in the player above. We love hearing from you – so do let us know your thoughts, or your suggestions. And here are the books we mention…

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
The Towers of Trebizond by Rose Macaulay
The World My Wilderness by Rose Macaulay
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngoza Adichie
Villette by Charlotte Bronte
Elizabeth Taylor
Barbara Pym
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
Emma by Jane Austen
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
Guard Your Daughters by Diane Tutton
Paul Gallico
The Chateau by William Maxwell
Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
A Talent to Deceive: an Appreciation of Agatha Christie by Robert Barnard
The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim
Elizabeth and Her German Garden by Elizabeth von Arnim
Christopher and Columbus by Elizabeth von Arnim
The Caravanners by Elizabeth von Arnim
The Solitary Summer by Elizabeth von Arnim
The Enchanted August by Brenda Bowen
Patricia Brent, Spinster by Herbert Jenkins
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
Father by Elizabeth von Arnim
Introduction to Sally by Elizabeth von Arnim
Mr Skeffington by Elizabeth von Arnim
Vera by Elizabeth von Arnim

6 thoughts on “Tea or Books? #12: happy vs sad endings, and Elizabeth and Her German Garden vs The Enchanted April

  • February 15, 2016 at 8:46 am

    I tend to agree that a happy ending is fine if it fits in the context of the story – for example the end of “Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day” has the perfect conclusion and it works. But the ending has to fit the book and life doesn’t usually have neat, tidy saccharine endings so I’d rather something believable than nice.

    • February 16, 2016 at 12:44 am

      I meant to mention Miss Pettigrew and completely forgot – I agree, that’s a perfect ending for the book.

  • February 15, 2016 at 10:28 am

    Have to listen to this one in peace and quiet, when I don’t have bored half-term children and an article deadline looming… But I too prefer ‘realistic’ endings, neither too happy nor too sad.

    • February 16, 2016 at 12:45 am

      So often the middle of extremes is the best answer! I hope you are not in the middle of too many extremes at the moment, with half-term :)

  • February 22, 2016 at 8:44 am

    I like happy and sad endings. I can be in the mood for both. Enjoyed the podcast as usual. Some modern – well post war –crime authors for you that don’t dwell on the gore. Iain Rankin obviously comes to mind, the series really takes off from Black and Blue onwards and I’ve been re reading the Ruth Rendell Wexford novels. The early ones set in the 60s/70s are now quite quaint, as is there attitude to women!

  • February 27, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    The World My Wilderness …

    I seem to struggle to remember this title as well, but it is how I first found your blog. Your review was a bit lukewarm IIRC, but the book also contains the best description of the Cripplegate wilderness/maquis out there. I work nearby, so it’s a bit of a King Charles’s Head.

    Not sure if the main character, Barbary, had a happy ending, or was just given an ASBO?


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