Nevertheless, within three weeks from that very day she was seated in the train; leaving London, leaving her life in England with every detail arranged and every foreseeable mishap foreseen and guarded against-and pinned on her coat was a bunch of gentians given to her in loving farewell by her husband-and she was on her way to the Alps.
Worn down by postwar London life, forty-something Lucy Cottrell finds herself accepting a surprise invitation to spend the summer at a Swiss chalet, accompanied by the very practical and undemonstrative Freda Blandish, whom she barely knows. The two are charged with inventorying the contents of the chalet, but distractions soon abound, first from Freda's slightly woebegone daughter Astra and her hoity-toity friend Kay, then from Lucy's godson Bertram and his friend Peter. Utta, the housekeeper, determined to prevent any changes to the chalet she loves, and a challenging paying guest add complications, as do clashing personalities, misunderstandings, and budding romance-not to mention a bit of Alpine climbing.
Packed with good humour, lush scenery, and irresistible charm, The Swiss Summer, first published in 1951, is one of Stella Gibbons' most delightful novels. This new edition features an introduction by twentieth-century women's historian Elizabeth Crawford.
'For holiday reading it would be hard to find anything better.' Guardian