Set in Argyllshire, Scotland Fancy Farm deals with the quixotic, idealistic and impractical landlord Sir Andrew Schaw who, as a result of imprudent management, has been forced to rent out his mansion house and live more humbly on a farm on his estate. He prides himself on his egalitarianism, tolerance and his excellent relations with the ordinary folk.
His self-knowledge, however, is very limited and he cannot see the hypocrisy in his own position when he embarks on his "great experiment in training the Ideal Wife" - to mould Penelope, the woman he believes he wants to marry, into the kind of woman he wants her to be. Penelope, however, is practical and a realist and soon exposes Sir Andrew's flaws. In the end both find more suitable spouses.
Fancy Farm is much more than a romantic love story. It is also very much a novel of ideas.
Neil Munro (1863-1930) was born in Inveraray, Argyll. Best known as the creator of the enduring hilarious sketches of Para Handy and his crew of the puffer Vital Spark, he was also a distinguished journalist and novelist. Along with Fancy Farm his novels include John Splendid, Gilian the Dreamer, The Daft Days and his masterpiece, The New Road.