Review of ‘A Pink Front Door’ by Stella Gibbons

A charming if directionless little-known novel, first published in 1959. It’s not one of Stella Gibbons’ best but is quite interesting in some respects and even made me laugh occasionally.

Daisy and James, a young married couple with two children, live in London, behind the ‘pink front door’ of the title. Daisy is an extremely helpful friend, called upon day and night to her various ‘lame ducks’ in need of shelter or money or connections. She’s so busy that she has no time for her husband. The omniscient narrator follows at least 10 characters (that I counted) who are linked, including sly ‘foreigner’ Tibbs, hopeless romantic Molly and unhappy social climber Anthea. I can’t decide whether the biggest flaw in the book is the profusion of characters (none of whom we get to know well enough to care for) or the lack of a real hook to get you into the story. I should note that the year it was published was also the year in which Gibbons’ husband died from cancer, so we can certainly forgive any shortcomings in the book.

This book is preoccupied with the changes in postwar society, including the position of female graduates (they start families after university and then can’t pursue a career), the growing tolerance of couples living together without marrying and of illegitimate children, the diversity of people living in London, the housing shortage and even the increasing usage of telephones, televisions and radios. As with Gibbons’ other novels, some characters have views which would be considered unacceptable today but which would have been consistent with the times.

In summary, if you’re a Stella Gibbons fan then this is one to try after you’ve read her more famous works. I’d also recommend it if you’re interested in fiction from the 1950s.

This edition was published by Dean Street Press in 2021 with an introduction by Elizabeth Crawford.

6 thoughts on “Review of ‘A Pink Front Door’ by Stella Gibbons”

  1. What an intriguing story! I like how relevant the themes are today. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    P.S. I also wanted to make a quick mention that I will be moving on to my own blog going forward (temporarily cross-posting content to warn readers on Bookidote) and that I’d love for us to remain connected over on my new blog ( Don’t feel obligated to do so though! Stay safe!

    1. It’s an unusual book that probably has few readers today! Thanks for stopping by. I have followed your new blog, it looks great and I like the name! 🙂

  2. I’d never read her before I read this, and I enjoyed it very much. Yes, today we’d have different ideas, but that is now, and this is about then.

    1. I do tend to mention the views of characters from back then as today’s readers are very likely to take more notice of them, however I enjoy reading older novels that are snapshots of the time. Thanks for your comment!

Leave a Reply