Barbara Pym (1913–1980) was a bestselling and award-winning English novelist. Her first book, Some Tame Gazelle (1950), launched her career as a writer beloved for her social comedies of class and manners.
In Jane and Prudence, the author of Excellent Women explores female friendship and the quiet yearnings of British middle-class life—a literary delight for fans of Jane Austen.
Jane Cleveland and Prudence Bates were close friends at Oxford University, but now live very different lives. Forty-one-year-old Jane lives in the country, is married to a vicar, has a daughter she adores, and lives a very proper life in a very proper English parish. Prudence, a year shy of thirty, lives in London, has an office job, and is self-sufficient and fiercely independent—until Jane decides her friend should be married. Jane has the perfect husband in mind for her former pupil: a widower named Fabian Driver.
But there are other women vying for Fabian’s attention. And Pru is nursing her own highly inappropriate desire for her older, married, and seemingly oblivious employer, Dr. Grampian. What follows is a witty, delightful, trenchant story of manners, morals, family, and female bonding that redefines the social novel for a new generation.