When the time comes for you to retire, Hugo, if you want a quiet life, don’t settle down in the country. Bury yourself in London or any really large city, and you can live like a hermit, but avoid the outskirts of a village. I am dazed by the ceaseless whirl of activities in which almost everyone in and round Ravenskirk is involved.
Sara Monteith makes an ideal correspondent for Hugo Jamieson, brother of her lost love Ivo, killed in the war before they could marry. Her neighbours in the lovely Border village of Ravenskirk don’t know that Sara has moved here because it’s where Ivo and Hugo grew up, but they welcome her warmly. Soon, she’s drawn into the active village social scene of tea parties, gardening, carol-singing, and Coronation festivities, dodging the judgments of stern Miss Bonaly, defending her helper Madge Marchbanks, an unwed mother, befriending kind, practical Elizabeth Drysdale and charming Mrs. Currie and her daughter Sylvia (the latter first met halfway through Sara’s drawing room window), and having an embarrassing first encounter with rugged Major Whitburn. Add in her nephew Arthur, neglected by an indifferent father, Arthur’s dog Pam, and even Hugo himself returning unexpectedly from overseas, and Sara’s life is a ‘ceaseless whirl’ indeed!
Molly Clavering was for many years the neighbour and friend of bestselling author D.E. Stevenson (in just such a village as Ravenskirk), and they may well have influenced one another’s writing. First published in 1955, Dear Hugo is one of the funniest of her spirited, joyful comedies of Scottish village life. This new edition includes an introduction by Elizabeth Crawford.