E. Nesbit (The Railway Children; Five Children and It) is best known for her children’s classics. In 1922, she published The Lark, a story for adults that writer Penelope Lively calls “[A] charming and brilliantly entertaining novel...shot through with the light-hearted Nesbit touch”.
Orphaned cousins Jane and Lucilla, both 19, receive the exciting news that their guardian is at last allowing them to leave boarding school. But their rosy future is thwarted when they find he has made some bad investments and fled, leaving them with a cottage in the English countryside and a modest bank account.
Finding a way to earn their living is daunting, but Jane insists that instead of worrying, they must regard their new situation as a lark: “When did two girls of our age have such a chance as we’ve got - to have a lark entirely on our own? No chaperone, no rules, no...” “No present income or future prospects,” said Lucilla.
The plucky girls begin by selling flowers, but when they deplete their own garden, they look for more opportunities. Good luck arrives along with a cast of characters who provide help and romantic possibilities, as well as new streams of income. But good fortune can’t last forever, and not all their new friends are as they seem....