Many would say that Apricots at Midnight is an outdated book: old-fashioned and preachy. Yet, the simple childlike stories made it altogether loveable.
Imagine a patchwork quilt, in which each little bit of cloth has a story to tell. I wish I had one! Apricots at Midnight has the sense of a collection of stories, united by this idea.
A young girl listens to her aunt Pinny talking about her childhood and the making of the grand quilt. Affection takes away the sordidness of poverty, and imagination makes every tiny bit of cloth a wonderful new world.
There’s nothing at all romantic and exciting about poverty, Aunt Pinny is quick to point out. Poverty coupled with the attempt to appear respectable makes everything even more difficult. Clothes need to be made out of old drapes and cushion covers. Even the tiniest sliver of soap is a treasure. Yet, the biggest treasure of all is Pinny’s eternal garden. Impatient with her real garden, Pinny, at her mother’s suggestion, begins to make a patchwork garden of her own. Each little bit of cloth she chooses to put in has a story behind it – the story of a sad and lonely zebra, pirates in the park, a highwayman, and an adventurous man who chooses to become a greengrocer … The attempt to provide a moral to each story may be outmoded, but I found it charming anyway!