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Beverley Nichols (1898-1983) was a prolific writer on subjects ranging from religion to politics and travel, in addition to authoring six novels, five detective mysteries, four children's stories, six autobiographies, and six plays. He is perhaps best remembered today for his gardening books. The first of them, Down the Garden Path, centered on his home and garden at Glatton and has been in print almost continuously since 1932. Merry Hall (1951) and its sequels Laughter on the Stairs (1953) and Sunlight on the Lawn (1956) document Nichols's travails in renovating a Georgian mansion and its gardens soon after the war. His final garden was at Sudbrook Cottage, which serves as the setting for Garden Open Today (1963) and Garden Open Tomorrow (1968). The progress of all three gardens was followed avidly by readers of his books and weekly magazine columns.
While the ostensible topics are houses and people, it is Nichols' love of gardening, and the villagers who either encourage him or thwart him in its pursuit, that remains the lively theme through all the books. -- Valerie Easton Seattle Times 20050916 At first glance, the book might appear sweet and a little cute, but don't be fooled. Nichols knows how to throw out a few zingers and reveal his true feelings with a good dose of sarcasm. Nichols is as observant as Jane Austen, as witty as Oscar Wilde, and as sentimental as James Herriott. He also happens to be as funny, timely, and un-P.C. as Jon Stewart. Home and Garden 20060101