No Fond Return of Love
The novel concerns the love lives of Viola Dace and her friend Dulcie Mainwaring, who are both attracted to the same man, Aylwin Forbes. Dulcie and Viola set about discovering more about his background.
In this novel, the author herself make a cameo appearance in the manner of Alfred Hitchcock. This is something she did in one or two of her novels, and it contrasts with the apparently conventional nature of her works.
Pym is one of the guests at the guest house with ‘bright Christian atmosphere’ in Taviscombe. She is described as ‘ordinary-looking and unaccompanied’ and consequently no one takes any notice of her, even though some of them had ‘read and enjoyed her books’. Her fellow guests do not realise that they are being observed.
Pym also had a habit of using major characters from one novel as minor ones in another, and here we see Wilmet, Piers, Keith and Rodney from A Glass of Blessings as tourists looking at the castle.
- Orna Raz - Social Dimensions in the Novels of Barbara Pym, 1949-1962: the Writer as Hidden Observer (2007)