In addition to having a wonderful name, India Knight has written some very funny, charming, British books that I feel just don’t get enough circulation here. I can only hope she is more popular in her native country, but in the meantime perhaps you’ll be encouraged to read her from my endorsement.
The first book I read of hers was My Life on a Plate. I read this some years ago, so my memory of the details is fuzzy. In essence, this is a story of a young mother who lives in a lovely British village in a lovely British farm house and it’s all muddy Wellingtons and thick bread for tea and chickens running everywhere, and everything you want in a cozy British story. It’s sounds very “happily-ever-after”, but in fact it’s not. One of the things I liked so much about this book was that having children (the baby as I recall is never named, just called something like Beauty, because she’s so angelically beautiful) and such a charming life was not really all it’s cracked up to be. It was a messy, happy life, but plenty of things went wrong, the mom wasn’t a perfect mom, she retained her persona from pre-children, and her marriage was lousy. Nothing nearly as dark as Tom Perrotta’s Little Children, mind you, but something different from what I think is typically portrayed in American novels.
Next I read a non-fiction by her called The Shops. A wonderful book about shopping! Witty little essays, information about India’s own life, and many many suggestions for the best places to buy various things. Sure, it’s British, but lots of places have websites to order from and to tell you the truth I just loved reading this. Though I did almost take up the suggestion of buying a weather vane.
She does have another fiction and non-fiction book, which I’ve yet to read, but certainly will do so now.
Not by India Knight, but always thought of by me in the same breath, is Hens Dancing by Raffaella Barker, and its sequel, Summertime. OK, upon further research it appears that my description of My Life on a Plate may in fact refer in part to Hens Dancing!! I’m not sure which has “Beauty” in it. Well, they are both all charming and village-y and funny and life is not always perfect in a not-maudlin-we’ll-get-through way. Check them all out!