The “I’ve Always Meant to Read That Book!” Challenge: Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons

coldcomfortfarmTitle: Cold Comfort Farm
Author: Stella Gibbons
Genre: Classics, historical fiction
Publisher: Penguin
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from the public library
First line: The education bestowed on Flora Poste by her parents had been expensive, athletic and prolonged; and when they died within a few weeks of one another during the annual epidemic of the influenza or Spanish Plague which occurred in her twentieth year, she was discovered to possess every art and grace save that of earning her own living.

Goodreads blurb: Flora, a recently orphaned socialite, moves in with her country relatives, the gloomy Starkadders of Cold Comfort Farm. Listeners will delight in Flora’s attempts to bring a sense of order to the Starkadder family’s chaotic world.

I was supposed to love this book! Have you ever felt that way about a book you haven’t read yet? In the past, every time I saw a mention of Cold Comfort Farm, I thought, “I would love that book. I should really read it.” And then, for whatever reason, I never got around to it. I was very happy when it won the vote to become one of this year’s “I’ve Always Meant to Read That Book!” Challenge titles, because I knew I was going to adore it.

Guess what? I didn’t love it. I liked it okay, but this wasn’t a huge hit for me. I think this is a case of expectations being much too high. I really expected it to be much funnier, and although there were a few wry moments, I didn’t think it was very humorous at all. I did appreciate that she was satirizing a genre of agricultural novel, and in fact, it made me realize again how much I hated As I Lay Dying by Faulkner. But the characters I expected to be quirky were actually just plain weird – or completely broken.

I did like Flora’s character, and glad that she SPOILER ALERT got her happy ending, but even that seemed to come out of the blue. The man that Flora ends up with only makes a brief appearance at the beginning of the book. Then, after very little mention of him during the course of her stay at the farm, she suddenly realizes that she’s in love with him and he comes in his airplane and flies her off to happiness. I would have liked much more explanation of why she had decided he was the man for her.

Did any of you also read this? I’m sure I’m probably going to be in the minority when it comes to my opinion, as this seems to be a universally loved book. If you posted about it – recently or in the past – please link your review so I can check it out. Otherwise, let me know what you thought in the comments section.

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10 Responses to The “I’ve Always Meant to Read That Book!” Challenge: Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons

  1. irene says:

    I haven’t read that book, but would gladly fly off with any one just about now. thanks for the thoughts.

  2. Was there a movie by the same name that came out in the 90s?
    I’ve always pondered this one too.
    Thanks for your honest review.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Juju – yes, there is a movie – with Kate Beckinsale, I think. I have a feeling this is one where I’ll like the movie more than I liked the book. I hope to watch it soon.

  3. Kristen says:

    I read Cold Comfort about a year ago. According to my comments on goodreads, I found it quite amusing. But I only gave it three stars and I can barely remember it which leads me to the conclusion that it was an adequate, yet less than emotionally moving book. I do (vaguely remember wishing it had been more than it was.

    And now you can remove the link I so foolishly created. Bother anyway.

  4. hillarypat says:

    I’m still reading this! I accidentally ordered an abridged edition the first time around so I had to reorder it- I got toward the very end of last month. I’m enjoying it but I agree that I thought it would be funnier then it has been so far.

  5. Melissa
    Twitter: avidreader12

    You are so not alone on this one! I thought I would love it too and I wasn’t a fan at all. I posted my review above.