counter create hit The Making of a Marchioness, Part I and II - Download Free eBook
Hot Best Seller

The Making of a Marchioness, Part I and II

Availability: Ready to download

First published in 1901 as The Making of a Marchioness followed by its sequel The Methods of Lady Walderhurst, the two novels were combined into Emily Fox-Seton who is the two works' primary character. The story follows thirty-something Emily who lives alone, humbly and happily, in a tiny apartment and on a meager income. She is the one that everyone counts on but no one g First published in 1901 as The Making of a Marchioness followed by its sequel The Methods of Lady Walderhurst, the two novels were combined into Emily Fox-Seton who is the two works' primary character. The story follows thirty-something Emily who lives alone, humbly and happily, in a tiny apartment and on a meager income. She is the one that everyone counts on but no one goes out of their way to accommodate. Her fortune changes, however, and the second half chronicles her adaptation to her new life and the dangers that arise from those who stand to lose most from her new circumstances.


Compare

First published in 1901 as The Making of a Marchioness followed by its sequel The Methods of Lady Walderhurst, the two novels were combined into Emily Fox-Seton who is the two works' primary character. The story follows thirty-something Emily who lives alone, humbly and happily, in a tiny apartment and on a meager income. She is the one that everyone counts on but no one g First published in 1901 as The Making of a Marchioness followed by its sequel The Methods of Lady Walderhurst, the two novels were combined into Emily Fox-Seton who is the two works' primary character. The story follows thirty-something Emily who lives alone, humbly and happily, in a tiny apartment and on a meager income. She is the one that everyone counts on but no one goes out of their way to accommodate. Her fortune changes, however, and the second half chronicles her adaptation to her new life and the dangers that arise from those who stand to lose most from her new circumstances.

30 review for The Making of a Marchioness, Part I and II

  1. 4 out of 5

    Melindam

    WARNING: This story was published in 1901 and the 2nd half (originally printed separately as The Methods of Lady Walderhurst) contains elements of casual and matter-of-fact racism that was a product of its time but offends the modern reader. ******************************** I have been contemplating for some time the rating for this book. I was wavering between 3 and 4 stars, but in the end I decided on 4 because my enjoyment of the book actually far outweighs my original bewilderment about the c WARNING: This story was published in 1901 and the 2nd half (originally printed separately as The Methods of Lady Walderhurst) contains elements of casual and matter-of-fact racism that was a product of its time but offends the modern reader. ******************************** I have been contemplating for some time the rating for this book. I was wavering between 3 and 4 stars, but in the end I decided on 4 because my enjoyment of the book actually far outweighs my original bewilderment about the curious way Frances Hodgson Burnett mixed her genres. The plot is a crossover between a comedy of manners along the lines of a rags-to-riches story with a clear criticism of Victorian society and a Gothic novel (though with certainly less melodrama), but while the plot appeared shaky sometimes, the characterisation is excellent and succinct and that carries the day for me in any book. The main character of the novel is Emily Fox-Seton, an impoverished lady of impeccable character, birth, manners and a universal goodwill towards mankind. She is a 34-year-old spinster, has hardly anything to live on, dwells in a boarding house (though thankfully with an incredibly kind landlady and her daughter) and tries to make ends meet by acting as a kind of secretary-cum-lady-in-waiting for rich, aristocratic ladies. She is kind and humble and happy in her own way (apart from the existential anxiety) and translates the high ladies' condescension and patronage as kindness towards herself. She also lacks the finesse and ruthlessness that drive many/most of her contemporaries and her "survival" under such social and pecuniary circumstances seems doubtful, to say the least. One of her patronesses, the Lady Maria Bayne is a selfish, but wickedly witty and entertaining old lady. "Lady Maria Bayne was the cleverest, sharpest-tongued, smartest old woman in London. She knew everybody and had done everything in her youth, a good many things not considered highly proper. A certain royal duke had been much pleased with her and people had said some very nasty things about it. But this had not hurt Lady Maria. She knew how to say nasty things herself, and as she said them wittily they were usually listened to and repeated." Lady M invites Emily to her estate for a week and charges her to help with the arrangements of parties, dinners and the village fete. Emily is happy to comply with her wishes, seemingly oblivious to the fact that she has to do everything. The "pinnacle" of the present party is the presence of Lady Maria's nephew, the elderly, widowed & rich Marquis, Lord Walderhurst, who has matrimonial plans and may choose a bride among the lady guests. "Walderhurst is coming to me. It always amuses me to have Walderhurst. The moment a man like that comes into a room the women begin to frisk about and swim and languish, except those who try to get up interesting conversations they think likely to attract his attention. They all think it is possible that he may marry them. If he were a Mormon he might have marchionesses of Walderhurst of all shapes and sizes.” And the million-dollar question is of course: WHOM WILL HE CHOOSE AS HIS MARCHIONESS? There are 3 likely candidates, summed up by Lady M with perfect insight and precision: 1) Mrs Ralph, a clever authoress: “Mrs. Ralph is the kind of woman who means business. She’ll corner Walderhurst and talk literature and roll her eyes at him until he hates her. These writing women, who are intensely pleased with themselves, if they have some good looks into the bargain, believe themselves capable of marrying any one. Mrs. Ralph has fine eyes and rolls them. Walderhurst won’t be ogled." 2) Miss Cora Brooke, an American heiress "The Brooke girl is sharper than Ralph. She was very sharp this afternoon. She began at once.” “I—I didn’t see her”—wondering. “Yes, you did; but you didn’t understand. The tennis, and the laughing with young Heriot on the terrace! She is going to be the piquant young woman who aggravates by indifference, and disdains rank and splendour; the kind of girl who has her innings in novelettes—but not out of them." 3) Lady Agatha Slade, a society beauty "Now there is Agatha Slade, poor girl! She’s of a kind I know by heart. With birth and beauty, she is perfectly helpless. Her people are poor enough to be entitled to aid from the Charity Organisation, and they have had the indecency to present themselves with six daughters—six! All with delicate skins and delicate little noses and heavenly eyes. Most men can’t afford them, and they can’t afford most men." Under the pretext of this seemingly lighthearted situation, we are dealt some harsh truths about the helplessness of women who are exposed either socially or financially or both. It is disheartening to learn that Agatha is not only pressured by society, but by her mother and by her younger sisters as well to find a husband or leave the social scene so that she can make way for them. Also Emily's bleak situation, despite her infinite goodness, is staring at us in the face rather nastily. The author disguises it under the veil of some flippant and funny remarks, but it is clear that she intended this veil to be very transparent. The girl had received a long, anxious letter from her mother, in which much was said of the importance of an early preparation for the presentation of Alix, who had really been kept back a year, and was in fact nearer twenty than nineteen. “If we were not in Debrett and Burke, one might be reserved about such matters,” poor Lady Claraway wrote; “but what is one to do when all the world can buy one’s daughters’ ages at the booksellers’?” "They had both had hard lives, and knew what lay before them. Agatha knew she must make a marriage or fade out of existence in prosaic and narrowed dulness. Emily knew that there was no prospect for her of desirable marriage at all. She was too poor, too entirely unsupported by social surroundings, and not sufficiently radiant to catch the roving eye." *SPOILER WARNING* from here on, I will more explicitly discuss characters and for that the plot must be more or less revealed. Of course, there are some implications that none of the 3 candidates will succeed in their attempts to catch His Lordship and F.H.B. rather nicely and credibly develops the relationship between Emily and James in the background. Neither of them are young, but the feelings they have for each other are solid, realistic & convincing and in a way they touched me deeper than any passion & romance could have done. “I am not a marrying man,” said his lordship, “but I must marry, and I like you better than any woman I have ever known. I do not generally like women. I am a selfish man, and I want an unselfish woman. Most women are as selfish as I am myself. I used to like you when I heard Maria speak of you. I have watched you and thought of you ever since I came here. You are necessary to every one, and you are so modest that you know nothing about it." “I want a companion.” “But I am so far from clever,” faltered Emily. The marquis turned in his driving-seat to look at her. It was really a very nice look he gave her. It made Emily’s cheeks grow pink and her simple heart beat. “You are the woman I want,” he said. “You make me feel quite sentimental.” It started actually with Lord Walderhurst's ambiguous characterisation when I had the feeling that something was a bit off-kilter. I found the author's treatment of the marquis somewhat off-putting. It was like she could not make up her mind about him. (Considering that by the time she was writing this novel, her 2nd marriage was dissolving, perhaps this is no great wonder) In one way he represents the ultimate upper-class Victorian MAN and while F.H.B. endowed him with some positive qualities, she kept wavering between respect and mild contempt where he was concerned. She kept dropping positive statements about him in one moment just to counteract it in the next. Lord Walderhurst reminded me quite a lot of Sir Thomas Bertram in Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. Stiff, patriarchal, dignified, self-absorbed, but intelligent with an inherent moral code and decency. I felt rather sorry for him for the way his author treated him & to me he appeared a positive character despite F.H.B.'s attempts to belittle him. For example it is clear to him almost from the start that Lady Maria uses Emily for her own purposes unashamedly & tells her so. “He is an interesting creature, to my mind,” she said. “I have always rather liked him. He has original ideas, though he is not in the least brilliant. I believe he talks more freely to me, on the whole, than to most people, though I can’t say he has a particularly good opinion of me. He stuck his glass in his eye and stared at me last night, in that weird way of his, and said to me, ‘Maria, in an ingenuous fashion of your own, you are the most abominably selfish woman I ever beheld.’ After the fete, it is him that makes Lady M's guests and the whole village to acknowledge Emily's work. "Lord Walderhurst stood near Lady Maria and looked pleased also. Emily saw him speak to her ladyship and saw Lady Maria smile. Then he stepped forward, with his noncommittal air and his monocle glaring calmly in his eye. “Boys and girls,” he said in a clear, far-reaching voice, “I want you to give three of the biggest cheers you are capable of for the lady who has worked to make your treat the success it has been. Her ladyship tells me she has never had such a treat before. Three cheers for Miss Fox-Seton.” However, despite the constantly implied criticism of Lord W, F.H.B. manages the development of their relationship and their marriage rather beautifully and elegantly and reaches a kind of balance in the very touching end which I hope made her as happy as her characters! Concerning the Gothic element in the the 2nd part of the story, suffice to say that Catherine Moreland and Isabella Thorpe from Northanger Abbey would have enjoyed it, though probably would not have found it horrid enough. The appearance of a strong racist element as well as the fact that one of the villains is a native of India made me partly upset, but I couldn't help sighing and rolling my eyes over as it was a plot device that was widely used at that time.

  2. 4 out of 5

    JimZ

    I don’t know why I ordered this book. I usually have notes in my TBR list regarding what prompted me to pursue a certain book. So I cannot give my sincerest thanks to whomever reviewed this book and influenced my decision. What a wonderful book! 😊 This was from Persephone Books (London). I might as well read every book in their collection… I put this publishing house on the same level as the New York Review of Books. Frances Hodgson Burnett was a prolific author and famous in her day (late 19th ce I don’t know why I ordered this book. I usually have notes in my TBR list regarding what prompted me to pursue a certain book. So I cannot give my sincerest thanks to whomever reviewed this book and influenced my decision. What a wonderful book! 😊 This was from Persephone Books (London). I might as well read every book in their collection… I put this publishing house on the same level as the New York Review of Books. Frances Hodgson Burnett was a prolific author and famous in her day (late 19th century and early 20th century) — Gladstone (Prime Minister of England for 12 years) admired her and Henry James referred to her as a colleague. I guess the books that most people recall from her oeuvre are The Secret Garden (1911) and Little Lord Fauntleroy (1886). Supposedly “Making of a Marchioness” faded into obscurity. But like so many books that do that, thank goodness there are people out there that realize that such a book as this needs to see the light of day again. I read this in one sitting and I couldn’t put it down and my stomach was in knots because I was worried as to what would happen to the Marchioness of Walderhurst, formerly Emily Fox-Seton who when we first meet her rents a bedsitting room. There were people who would like to see this sweet guileless woman dead… I don’t think Emily had a mean bone in her body. Plus she was with child (as people were plotting her demise)! 😲 I am still recovering from my knotted stomach. Part One of this book came out in June, July and August of 1901 as installments in a periodical, The Cornhill — the book ends at the point where Lord Walderhurst proposes to her. Burnett enjoyed her character so much (as she says, “You know things would inevitably happen to dear Emily when she became a Marchioness…”) she wrote a second book, The Methods of Lady Walderhurst (Frederick A. Stokes Company, University Press, John Wilson and Son, Cambridge, U.S.A., 1901), taking up where she left off after the proposal. At this point she realized the two books should be combined, but it is not clear to me when the two books were actually published as one…there is an edition in 1967 by Stein and Day, New York, 1967 labeled as the first American Edition. Anyway, the edition I have is from Persephone Books (Reprinted 2005 and 2009) and combine Part One with Part Two (although the two are clearly delineated and still labeled as ‘parts’), and is simply titled as “The Making of a Marchioness”. A marchioness is the wife of a marquess, which in turn is a nobleman of high hereditary rank in various European peerages. There are two words I had to look up when reading this book: ‘pellucid’ as in ‘Emily had a pellucid mind’ (translucently clear) and ‘cavilled’ as in “…cavilled at such opinions”. It means ‘made petty or unnecessary objections’. I am anxious to read GR reviews. Reviews from bloggers leaned towards hating it. ☹ Reviews: https://thebookbindersdaughter.com/20... From here on in all these bloggers either have problems with the book or just plain flat out hate the book…yeesh! • http://projectgutenbergproject.blogsp... • https://girlwithherheadinabook.co.uk/... • https://thenobbylife.wordpress.com/20... • https://thecaptivereader.com/2010/01/...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Wealhtheow

    I am always impressed by Burnett's ability to write sweet stories without being twee or saccharine. This is what Edith Wharton would write on anti-depressants. Edited to add on 5/16/19: Goodreads tells me I have read this 11 times. It might very well be even more than that, because I find myself going back to this story again and again, and every time I just intend to reread one of my favorite scenes, and every time I find myself reading the whole thing. I do tend to skip the particularly racist I am always impressed by Burnett's ability to write sweet stories without being twee or saccharine. This is what Edith Wharton would write on anti-depressants. Edited to add on 5/16/19: Goodreads tells me I have read this 11 times. It might very well be even more than that, because I find myself going back to this story again and again, and every time I just intend to reread one of my favorite scenes, and every time I find myself reading the whole thing. I do tend to skip the particularly racist bits in the middle/end that feature Ameerah the deadly native. After many rereads I do find this rather more saccharine than before, but listen, I have a sweet tooth.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Anne (On semi-hiatus)

    2.5 stars. I started this book without reading any reviews in my continued reading binge of Persephone titles and forgotten early 20th century literature. So I was in for quite a surprise with this book set out in 2 parts. The first part was straightforward fiction but the second part changed into melodramatic gothic. Throughout both parts the author compulsively writes about two things about Emily, the main character; her goodness and her lack of intelligence. The former was obvious because it 2.5 stars. I started this book without reading any reviews in my continued reading binge of Persephone titles and forgotten early 20th century literature. So I was in for quite a surprise with this book set out in 2 parts. The first part was straightforward fiction but the second part changed into melodramatic gothic. Throughout both parts the author compulsively writes about two things about Emily, the main character; her goodness and her lack of intelligence. The former was obvious because it was shown in the story and didn't require constant reminders to the reader (whom Burnett must also have thought dull-witted). Burnett even has Emily and her husband agreeing that she wasn't clever. However, I didn't find Emily to be dull or stupid but apparently cleverness was an unpleasant feature for women in the early 20th Century or Burnett may have thought that Emily needed to be dim in order to pull off the plot in the second part of the novel. In the same vein Burnett reminds the reader constantly of Emily's goodness and self-sacrificing nature. It wasn't so much Emily's goodness which was irritating but Burnett's constant need to tell the reader what she shows though Emily's actions, thoughts and appraisals of other characters. The second part, the gothic element was very loose, repetitive and predictable, not to mention a bit racist. This book was written 10 years before The Secret Garden was published. It has the feel of a beginning writer. If written once Burnett was a more accomplished writer the book may have worked a bit better, especially the second half.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Melindam

    Kudos to Lucy Scott for the excellent narration! Here is my original review for the Persephone Books paperback edition. Kudos to Lucy Scott for the excellent narration! Here is my original review for the Persephone Books paperback edition.

  6. 4 out of 5

    steph

    Completely enjoyable. Emily is kind, unsuspecting, unselfish woman that on principle one should hate but I couldn't. I just liked her even when she saw the best in people (and they were trying to kill her). She's just so nice and real. This is two stories in one - the first half is a romance and the second half is a horror show (husband's heir is not fond of the new Marchioness). It shouldn't work, those two jarring stories, but it does. I really liked this edition, it had a intro and afterward Completely enjoyable. Emily is kind, unsuspecting, unselfish woman that on principle one should hate but I couldn't. I just liked her even when she saw the best in people (and they were trying to kill her). She's just so nice and real. This is two stories in one - the first half is a romance and the second half is a horror show (husband's heir is not fond of the new Marchioness). It shouldn't work, those two jarring stories, but it does. I really liked this edition, it had a intro and afterward that added to the book. I'd recommended this to someone looking for a book written in the early 1900's. This one was written 1901 which is about ten years before the Secret Garden was written.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Maybe deserving of 3 stars but I'm erring on the side of 'I spent half this book wondering if I should bother finishing' and am going to rate it 2 stars. The book suffers from a terribly naïve, Mary Sue main character who is redeemed initially by the acerbic wit of the narrator and then by sheer drama of her husband's heir trying to murder her. Which sounds exciting and only is so-far as vaguely racist views of India natives exercising some form of voodoo make it. Not my favorite Burnett. If look Maybe deserving of 3 stars but I'm erring on the side of 'I spent half this book wondering if I should bother finishing' and am going to rate it 2 stars. The book suffers from a terribly naïve, Mary Sue main character who is redeemed initially by the acerbic wit of the narrator and then by sheer drama of her husband's heir trying to murder her. Which sounds exciting and only is so-far as vaguely racist views of India natives exercising some form of voodoo make it. Not my favorite Burnett. If looking for something off the beaten path by her, I'd recommend A Lady of Quality.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lady Delacour

    This book surprised me by how enjoyable and entertaining it was. Very nicely narrated by Lucy Scott.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Pam Nelson

    My first by this author but I so loved the story of Emily an unselfish woman who just wanted to give. She doesn’t see hate the way other do. The love story part of the book will make you swoon the second part of the book feels a lot like greed to me. But the ending was sweet. I do love the accents and the narration was sweet.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    I found a beautiful Persephone edition of ‘The Making of a Marchioness’ in a charity shop, after reading and enjoying The Shuttle. Frances Hodgson Burnett is a distinctive writer with an impressively cynical view of late Victorian marriage and limitations placed upon women. I preferred The Shuttle, though, as it had a more striking narrator and clearer structure. ‘The Making of a Marchioness’ was written in two parts, the first of which is much shorter and in my view much more effective. Both co I found a beautiful Persephone edition of ‘The Making of a Marchioness’ in a charity shop, after reading and enjoying The Shuttle. Frances Hodgson Burnett is a distinctive writer with an impressively cynical view of late Victorian marriage and limitations placed upon women. I preferred The Shuttle, though, as it had a more striking narrator and clearer structure. ‘The Making of a Marchioness’ was written in two parts, the first of which is much shorter and in my view much more effective. Both concern Emily Fox-Seton, initially a badly paid dogsbody who struggles to pay her rent. The first part ends with her life changing very significantly, then the second part plays this out at much greater length. (view spoiler)[Perhaps predictably, I found Emily a far more interesting character when she was poor. The melodrama of the second part also verged on overwrought, with racist undertones: her nephew-in-law conspires with an Indian maid to murder Emily. While this section of the narrative was pretty tense, it seemed like drama for drama’s sake, which made an odd contrast to the incisive first part. (hide spoiler)] The highlight for me was the solidarity between women throughout. I particularly liked the dynamic between Emily and Lady Agatha, who are both very familiar with financial difficulty: [Emily] had not lived in a world where marriage was a thing of romance, and, for that matter, neither had Agatha. It was nice if a girl liked the man who married her, but if he was a well-behaved, agreeable person, of good means, it was natural that she would end by liking him sufficiently, and to be provided for comfortably or luxuriously for life, and not left upon one’s own hands, or one’s parents’, was a thing to be thankful for in any case. [...] They both had hard lives, and knew what lay before them. Agatha knew she must make a marriage or fade out of existence in prosaic and narrowed dullness. Emily knew that there was no prospect for her of desirable marriage at all. She was too poor, too entirely unsupported by social surroundings, and not sufficiently radiant to catch the roving eye. To be able to maintain herself decently, to be given an occasional treat by her more fortunate friends, and to be allowed by fortune to present to the face of the world the appearance of a woman who was not a pauper, was all that she could expect. ‘The Making of a Marchioness’ touches on some surprisingly radical topics for the time: pregnancy outside marriage, abortion, and domestic violence. However, the main character is so entirely virtuous as to beggar belief at times. I didn’t dislike her, in fact she seemed admirable, I just found her hard to understand. The depictions of class differences are cleverly done, albeit in an entirely uncritical fashion. ‘The Making of a Marchioness’ is well worth reading, although the first part is undoubtedly superior.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Free download available at Project Gutenberg The three week read and discussion of Emily Fox-Seton by Frances Hodgson Burnett begins Sunday, May 5, at the 19thCenturyLit group. Emily Fox-Seton includes The Making of a Marchioness and The Methods of Lady Walderhurst. This book discussion can be joined at 19thCenturyLit - Literature of the 19th Century. Discussion Schedule: May 5 Part One (Chapters 1 - 6) May 12 Part Two, Chapters 7 - 15 May 19 Part Two, Chapters 16 - 24 Both books, "The Making of a Marc Free download available at Project Gutenberg The three week read and discussion of Emily Fox-Seton by Frances Hodgson Burnett begins Sunday, May 5, at the 19thCenturyLit group. Emily Fox-Seton includes The Making of a Marchioness and The Methods of Lady Walderhurst. This book discussion can be joined at 19thCenturyLit - Literature of the 19th Century. Discussion Schedule: May 5 Part One (Chapters 1 - 6) May 12 Part Two, Chapters 7 - 15 May 19 Part Two, Chapters 16 - 24 Both books, "The Making of a Marchioness" and "The Methods of Lady Walderhurst" are typical Edwardian's pieces of work where the heroine, a good, honest and hard-working woman, has a fairytale ending which is typical in the Burnett's books. As very well pointed out by one of the members in the 19th Century Literature Yahoo Group, "the contrast between light and dark, comfort and poverty, was the dominant theme of her books." I can feel some autobiographical hints during the narrative even if I didn't know so much about her life before reading these couple of books. At Wikipedia, one can find a good biography of this author, namely Frances Hodgson Burnett: The Unexpected Life of the Author of "The Secret Garden" by Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina Another interesting book about this author which should be mentioned here is Waiting for the Party: The Life of Frances Hodgson Burnett by Ann Thwaite

  12. 5 out of 5

    Nina

    I enjoyed this book so much that I read it within a day and a half. The writing was lush and descriptive enough to enchant me--full of tea and English country houses. I also enjoyed the suspense--are these dark, sinister people from India really dark and sinister? Well, yes. But it wasn't as cut and dried as it could have been, thankfully. I also enjoyed the heroine, who was too good and guileless for her own good, and it seemed she was even too good, at times, for the narrator's patience! Anoth I enjoyed this book so much that I read it within a day and a half. The writing was lush and descriptive enough to enchant me--full of tea and English country houses. I also enjoyed the suspense--are these dark, sinister people from India really dark and sinister? Well, yes. But it wasn't as cut and dried as it could have been, thankfully. I also enjoyed the heroine, who was too good and guileless for her own good, and it seemed she was even too good, at times, for the narrator's patience! Another thing I liked: it's a love story, but the bride is 34 and the groom is 54! They meet at a country house party when he is impressed by her enthusiastic selflessness in spite of her genteel poverty. So, in the first part, she's married off, and in the second part, his heir tries to kill her off. It was fun and well-written. I found it on a list of books that Persephone Press publishes, and I'm glad that I did. I read it on my Kindle, but it would have been more fun to read in print.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Dianna

    I really liked this one! The first half is a fairy tale with an endearing heroine (big, good-natured, poor, and disgustingly healthy), and the second half is a combination melodrama and commentary on Victorian marriage. 2013: I enjoyed listening to the recording of this book from librivox.org. 2019: I've upgraded to a recording from Audible. I really liked this one! The first half is a fairy tale with an endearing heroine (big, good-natured, poor, and disgustingly healthy), and the second half is a combination melodrama and commentary on Victorian marriage. 2013: I enjoyed listening to the recording of this book from librivox.org. 2019: I've upgraded to a recording from Audible.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Dagny

    I loved this book. The first part, Being The Making of a Marchioness, was predictable, but the descriptions were interesting and the characters likable. The second part, The Methods of Lady Walderhurst, started out peacefully enough but then turned into a breathless rush to the finish.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kaye

    Story: 3.5 stars Narrator: 4 stars Yes, I'll freely admit that, even though I had this book on my shelf for years, I didn't make the decision to read (well, listen to) it until after watching The Making of a Lady on PBS a few weeks ago (and I've pre-ordered the DVD!). While the "gothic" elements of the story seemed odd in the movie, I have to admit, they're even odder in the book . . . because they're given so much less malice and true menace first by how they're written about (and in whose POV) a Story: 3.5 stars Narrator: 4 stars Yes, I'll freely admit that, even though I had this book on my shelf for years, I didn't make the decision to read (well, listen to) it until after watching The Making of a Lady on PBS a few weeks ago (and I've pre-ordered the DVD!). While the "gothic" elements of the story seemed odd in the movie, I have to admit, they're even odder in the book . . . because they're given so much less malice and true menace first by how they're written about (and in whose POV) and by how the circumstances are handled. Emily Fox-Seton is a genteel woman of little means who hires herself out as an event planner, secretary, and personal shopper to women in high society London in early 1900/1901. At thirty-four years old, she has been on her own for quite some time and she has learned how to make a shilling stretch as far as possible. She lives in a rented room in a boarding house owned and run by Mrs. Cupp and her daughter, Jane, whose kindness she appreciates and who are quite fond of her in return. One of Emily's employers, Lady Maria Bayne, who truly likes Emily (in addition to liking what Emily can do for her) invites Emily to come to a country house party---and to act as Lady Maria's companion, which means she gets to participate in the social activities for the most part. There are several random other characters here, but the most important guest is Lady Maria's cousin, the marquis James Walderhurst. Lady Maria lets Emily know that Lord Walderhurst (who is in his mid-50s) lost his first wife and son many, many years ago; and if he wants an heir to inherit his title/estates, he must remarry and have another son. Emily sees her role at the house party to make sure the other few young women there---a wealthy American girl and the poor Lady Agatha---are seen to their greatest advantage. At every opportunity, she speaks well of each of the other young women to Walderhurst. On a day when Walderhurst and all of the other guests have gone out for a drive/site seeing, Lady Maria discovers that the fish monger who was supposed to supply them for dinner didn't have anything. The next closest one is in another town four miles away. But all of the carriages (and I suppose all the riding horses, too???) are out, so Emily, even though she's fatigued from the eventful day before, volunteers to walk the four miles to get fish for dinner. On this walk, Emily reads a letter delivered to her shortly before she left the estate and she discovers that the Cupps are selling their house and moving out to the country. What does she want them to do with all of her stuff? This, of course, comes as quite a blow to Emily. On her way back to the house, she breaks down and stops to have a good cry. When Walderhurst returns to the estate after the outing and learns about the errand Lady Maria sent Emily on, he immediately goes out with his phaeton to retrieve her. He finds Emily on the moors crying and, moved by . . . love (? he's not an overly sentimental man) he proposes to her. This is the end of Part 1, which was a novella originally published as The Making of a Marchioness. And it's only about the first 20-25% of the book. In Part 2, originally published as The Methods of Lady Walderhurst, Emily and Walderhurst marry. She meets his cousin, and heir, Alec Osborn and Alec's half-Indian wife, Hester. Having believed for years that he would inherit the estates and wealth that go along with the Walderhurst title, Alec is none-too-happy that James has remarried. At first, he and Hester (who is pregnant) tell themselves that at her age, Emily is unlikely to give Walderhurst a son/heir. But then, of course, the inevitable happens. After Walderhurst traipses off to India on a diplomatic mission (unlike in the movie, he isn't in the Army in the book), Emily discovers she, too, is with child. She invites the Osburns to live in a cottage on the estate, and that's when things start getting all pseudo-gothicy. Because we're treated to Alec's and Hester's viewpoints in the story, we're at no time unaware that he wishes Emily harm. While most of the potential danger is laid off at Ameerah's feet (Hester's former ayah, now maid), Alec seethes with malice and hatred toward Emily most of the time. Hester isn't much better. She seems to hate Emily as much as Alec does . . . though when she realizes just how close to being off his rocker her husband is, she starts to realize how wrong it is to wish harm to another, much less to do harm to another. In the movie version, Emily not only stays at Palstrey (one of Walderhurst's country estates where they take up residence after leaving London), she drinks the drugged milk, even after commenting that she doesn't trust the Osborns or Ameerah. In the book, Hester who has been treated better by Emily than by just about anyone else in her life, not only saves her from the drugging, but urges her to leave Palstrey to get away from Alec and Ameerah and what they might do to her. Emily does this and goes to London, first staying with Mrs. Cupp and Jane in the Cupps' old house, and then, after telling her doctor everything, at his advice she moves back into the Walderhurst townhouse in Berkeley Square. Walderhurst, whose return from India was delayed by his own fever, finally returns home to learn that not only has Emily had a child (she never told him in her letters, many of which went astray, and at least one of which was intercepted by Alec), but she is also on death's door with doctors and nurses hovering over her. In a scene worthy of any Disney movie or Jane Austen adaptation, Walderhurst kneels beside the bed calling to her---which brings her back from the "white sea" of death and back into the world of the living. Which is all very sweet and would have been a great way to end the story. But then we're treated to a "four years later" type of scene in which Hester, now widowed, and her daughter have been living with Emily and Walderhurst ever since Alec "accidentally" shot himself with a shotgun he didn't know was loaded while he was drunk. So, instead of a romantic ending, we at least do learn that "justice" (or Just Desserts) has been served. But it was a rather lackluster ending. The Making of a Marchioness and The Methods of Lady Walderhurst were published in 1901, the year Queen Victoria died. Several times in the book, Emily's stature and demeanor are commented upon as being "early Victorian" and "Mid-Victorian" (and once also as a "Thacheryian saint"). It's funny to me that, even less than a year after Queen Victoria's death, levels of Victorian attitudes and behaviors had already been defined. One major issue I had with the book is Burnett's overuse of the word ingenuous. It's apparently her favorite adjective/adverb. Everything about Emily is ingenuous and she does everything ingenuously. This is one of those things that is likely more noticeable in the audio version than the print version. Where the script writers and filmmaker got it right was keeping the danger to Emily present, rather than removing her from it and having her hiding from the fear rather than living with it, as happens in the book. They also got (very, very) right the development of the relationship between Walderhurst and Emily. I loved the slow-burn between them in the film version. Here, there's almost no emotional or intellectual connection between them, except for the fact that she moons over his letters when he's gone, and he comes to have "tender" thoughts about her upon reading her letters while he's convalescing. Though, in the end, his outburst that he would rather have Emily than the son she bore him, is very sweet. What the movie got wrong: Jane Cupp. Never in the book is Jane anything but completely loyal to Emily. It is Jane who saves Emily from disaster more than once, and it is she who loses sleep to watch over Emily when she realizes the threat to her mistress's life. It was quite interesting seeing the original depiction of these characters and the story as the author imagined it instead of just the 21st century adaptation's take on them. Gothic romances were quite popular in the late-Victorian/early Edwardian era; but, unfortunately, this doesn't work as one of those, even though it does have some of the elements. We also see clearly depicted the attitude of that era toward those of Indian birth/descent, though much of this is ameliorated by Emily's attitude---and her suggestion that Jane read Uncle Tom's Cabin (apparently Burnett's favorite novel as a young girl) to understand the plight of "the blacks" (which, apparently, Indians were called in England at this time). Had I not seen the movie and fallen so deeply in love with Emily and Walderhurst, I might not have stuck this one out. But I'm glad I did. It will never be a favorite, but I'm glad I read it.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Daniela

    (warning: review contains spoilers) So this was a funny little book, despite the occasional silliness. Frances Hodgson Burnett tells the story of Emily Fox-Seton a gentlewoman in her thirties, who is the poor relation of an aristocratic family. Her wealthy relatives do not really care for her, so Emily has to make do by living the life of a respectable working woman in the beginning of the 20th century London. She works as a kind of secretary/errand girl for rich, noble ladies. There's even the (warning: review contains spoilers) So this was a funny little book, despite the occasional silliness. Frances Hodgson Burnett tells the story of Emily Fox-Seton a gentlewoman in her thirties, who is the poor relation of an aristocratic family. Her wealthy relatives do not really care for her, so Emily has to make do by living the life of a respectable working woman in the beginning of the 20th century London. She works as a kind of secretary/errand girl for rich, noble ladies. There's even the mention of a duchess at some point. The whole plot brings to mind an Austen novel. Perhaps that's why it seems a bit dislocated from its time. One of these noble ladies is Lady Maria Byrne who reminded me of Violet Crawley from Downton Abbey. The witty old lady who has a great knowledge of the world and can say whatever she wants because she's rich and old and part of the aristocracy so no one really cares. Lady Maria is lovable as a character precisely because she is funny (although the author clearly made an herculean effort for her to be so) but we are also told quite clearly that she is a thoroughly selfish woman. While she obviously cares for Emily Fox-Seton, she has no qualms in exploiting her and her talents to the point where poor Emily is exhausted. Emily is the sweetest, kindest, most generous person. It's a wonder I didn't hate her. Her kindness and goodness are too exalted to be realistic. She is so gullible and uninteresting and she repeats clichés after clichés and yet, somehow, she managed to move me. What is noteworthy about her is that the author is obviously aware that she is writing a ridiculous, pathetic character. Only instead of hiding it, she owns up to it by openly stating her character's failings. Emily isn't stupid. But we are given several opportunities to see how her naivety and lack of cleverness make her unable to deal with certain situations. It's as though Burnett is aware that if she wants Emily to possess a kindness that is almost impossible for a human to have then she has to have some flaws. Anyway, Emily goes off to the countryside to help aforementioned Lady Maria with her party guests and the village festivities. There she meets Lady Maria's cousin, Lord Walderhurst, a 50 year old Marquess, a widower who is being pressured to marry and have an heir. Walderhurst is actually the most interesting character in all the book because he is the farthest thing from a Romantic or a Regency hero - which one expects him to be given the setting and the way he's introduced. He is kind and considerate but also tremendously dull, inarticulate and too set in his proper, Victorian ways to actually notice any change in himself or in the people around him. He abhors sentimentality and takes a practical view of every subject under the sun. Burnett does not take him too seriously. She is aware that although he is a good man, he is also something of an absurdity. Near the ending of the story, as he is meeting his wife after his return from India, he feels "a slight movement in the cardiac region". In many ways, Walderhust is a parody of the Victorian gentleman. At the same time, however, it would be insensitive to dismiss him as a simple caricature because his feelings are genuine and his confusion at finding himself in love with his wife is somewhat moving. Walderhust is also a noble man - in the true sense of the word. This is another reason he can't simply be written off as a parody. He decides to propose when he learns that Emily will be left homeless since her impossibly good tenants are moving to the North of England. Walderhust is also the first person to understand that people often take advantage of Emily's kindness. He is angry with Lady Maria - his cousin - when he realises how she thoughtlessly uses Emily as a simple commodity with little consideration for her well-being. He also sees that Emily's kindness and naivety are not the norm in polite society and he appreciates her all he more for it. They marry. Emily moves to his Manor in the countryside and all seems well until Lord Walderhust is called away to India on some business or other. Emily is left living with her faithful lady's maid (Jane, the daughter of Emily's previous tenant, Mrs Cupp), a bunch of servants and her husband's cousin and his Anglo-Indian wife. Alec Osborn is the villain of the book. And thank God for him, because this book was in dire need of a villain. I mean, everyone is so good that you start wondering if this is an alternative Victorian universe with no horrible people. Osborn, his wife and her terrifying Indian maid (upon whom all the racism of the book is concentrated) start to resent Emily because now that Walderhust has married her there's no chance for the Osborns to inherit the title. Emily, naturally, is completely oblivious to this hatred. She is, naturally, extremely kind to them, especially to Osborn's wife, Hester, whom she proceeds to take under her wing. The whole plot takes a sinister - and unexpected - turn when you realise that Alec Osborn and the Indian maid are trying to kill Emily and her unborn child (oh, yes, she's pregnant). The Gothic murder plot is odd and even slightly amusing in its unpredictability. Imagine you're reading Pride and Prejudice when you suddenly realise that Mr Darcy's aunt is trying to kill Elizabeth. It is true that the absurdity of this plot has limits which sober it up a little. Alec Osborn never explicitly discusses the plan. Hester struggles with her conscience and with the growing realisation of what her husband and her maid are planning. Furthermore, the plot is there to show that Emily really is a very naive person who knows nothing of the evilness of men. So despite it all, this story-line does create an interesting tension. The book fails tremendously at the end. Emily gives birth to a healthy boy but she gets very ill and almost dies. Lord Walderhust finally arrives from India, and his presence saves her. There's an obvious cliché here and one can't help but roll one's eyes a little. Emily's love and adoration for her husband was always evident. She thinks that she was terribly lucky to marry him (which she was) and proceeds to idealize him to an extreme. To give the author credit, this is true to Emily's character. She was always inclined to idealize people's kindness towards her. Her near-death experience is also used for Lord Walderhust to understand the extent of his feelings for her. Still, the dying plot-device is just too much and just feels silly and melodramatic. It goes so far as declaring that Emily had expressively ordered the doctor to save the child instead of her if the situation demanded since she believed that her husband desperately wanted an heir. When Lord Walderhust arrives we see that this is not the case at all, and that he wouldn't give up her for life for anything. It is a nice sentiment but a bit soap-operish in the way it's written. So why did I enjoy this book? Despite its silliness and clichés, I feel that the author does not take her characters too seriously. There's a healthy, amusing distance she places between her thoughts and those of her characters. This makes the narrative very funny. I also enjoy the little elements of realism. For instance, Emily's preoccupation with money and making a respectable living is remarkable. We see her discussing prices of things, worrying about where she'll end up as an old woman when her strength to work starts to fail. Here the subject of money, livelihood, the every day problems of a woman in Emily's initial position are written quite explicitly. What is most annoying about this book is that we are supposed to believe that such a story would have gone exactly the way it did. Emily is very kind and the world seems to be very kind to her. Yet is it really believable that Lady Maria would be so fine with a minor, impoverished second rate noblewoman (whom she basically employs) marrying her cousin, a rich Marquis? Would polite society as a whole have received Emily the way it did, so nicely and with such good will? Would Emily have adapted so well to her new circumstances? Wouldn't she become something of an outcast? Where is the classism of British Victorian society? I feel that the novel would have been much, much better if it had been forced to confront these issues instead of forcing upon us the murder plot and the heroine's near death. Furthermore, it is undeniable that the novel repeats itself constantly. We are often told that Emily is kind but not very intelligent, that Lord Walderhust is a good man but not an intellectual, that Lady Maria is witty and slightly amoral. The characters change little throughout the story with the exception of Walderhust who discovers, to his astonishment, that he does love his wife.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Gisela Hafezparast

    I love Frances Hodgson Burnett books. She was a very clever women who had to for most of her life had to earn her own and her families living at a time when nice ladies did not do that. All her book portrait life of this time very well and she very cleverly "hides her criticism of society and country very charmingly" as she would say. Of course, there is quite a bit of racism and it is not a book for a feminist, but it is in no way as bad as with other Georgian writers. She was one of Jane Auste I love Frances Hodgson Burnett books. She was a very clever women who had to for most of her life had to earn her own and her families living at a time when nice ladies did not do that. All her book portrait life of this time very well and she very cleverly "hides her criticism of society and country very charmingly" as she would say. Of course, there is quite a bit of racism and it is not a book for a feminist, but it is in no way as bad as with other Georgian writers. She was one of Jane Austen's favourite writers, but managed the business of writing much better than poor Jane.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Corrie Ann

    I always find it a bit challenging to write a review of a book that I consider a favorite. I read a tattered, old library copy of this book many years ago, although I think it was only the second of the stories contained in this volume (The Methods of Lady Walderhurs) as I have no recollection of the first story. I recently picked up the Persephone edition, which contains both Emily Fox-Seton stories (The Making of a Marchioness and The Methods of Lady Walderhurst) and I was reminded why I love F I always find it a bit challenging to write a review of a book that I consider a favorite. I read a tattered, old library copy of this book many years ago, although I think it was only the second of the stories contained in this volume (The Methods of Lady Walderhurs) as I have no recollection of the first story. I recently picked up the Persephone edition, which contains both Emily Fox-Seton stories (The Making of a Marchioness and The Methods of Lady Walderhurst) and I was reminded why I love Frances Hodgson Burnett so much. Her children's books were some of my favorites as a girl. This edition tells the story of the simple, selfless, kind, and just plain lovely Emily Fox-Seton. The first story is a Cinderella story of how Emily comes to marry the very eligible and desired Marquis of Walderhurst. In this story you are introduced to Emily in such a way that you cannot help but both love her and feel a little sorry for her - well born yet poor, she is continually taken advantage of by those she works for, yet she considers it the least she can do because everyone is so kind to her. What she fails to realize is that she is always giving more than she is receiving, but she soldiers on and continues to remain true to herself and her character. And, it all works out in the best way in the end. The second story is very different, full of mystery and intrigue with villains and heroes, it was hard to put down. I fell even more in love with Emily and found her selflessness and innocence both beautiful and terrifying; terrifying because her trusting nature puts her in a rather precarious situation. It's tough to write much more without spoiling the story, but know that the ending is very satisfying. One of my only criticisms of the book is how Hodgson Burnett feels the need to continually remind you of Emily's simplicity of intellect, it felt unnecessary and became a bit tedious to me. We get that she isn't a brilliant and calculating heroine, she has a unique innocence, unlimited kindness and is far too trusting, but it is these things along with her age and her situation, that make her such a compelling heroine. She is different to almost all other heroines and I think that is why I love her so. I also really liked how she saw her husband through a different lens to everyone else, and had not only a reverence for him, but a genuine love and devotion that was really quite sweet and served to reinforce both her simplicity and ability to see the best in others. This will certainly remain one of my favorite books and a guilty pleasure I will read when life gets to be a little too much.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Vicki Antipodean Bookclub

    “When Miss Fox-Seton descended from the two-penny ‘bus as it drew up, she gathered up her trim tailor-made skirt about her with neatness and decorum, being well used to getting in and out of twopenny ‘buses and making her way across muddy London streets.” . . . Making of a Marchioness is one of my three precious Persephone Books written by the author of one of my favourite childhood books The Secret Garden. It is very much a tale of two halves, the first half being a rags to riches (almost) love sto “When Miss Fox-Seton descended from the two-penny ‘bus as it drew up, she gathered up her trim tailor-made skirt about her with neatness and decorum, being well used to getting in and out of twopenny ‘buses and making her way across muddy London streets.” . . . Making of a Marchioness is one of my three precious Persephone Books written by the author of one of my favourite childhood books The Secret Garden. It is very much a tale of two halves, the first half being a rags to riches (almost) love story and the second half a melodrama. Within the first sentence, the author manages to tell us that Miss Emily Fox-Seaton is unmarried, is careful in her bearing and is able to “make do and mend”. Emily is unfailingly pleasant, polite, accommodating and not given to self-pity despite the fact that she is struggling to make a living by running errands for the London elite. Living in genteel poverty, she meets Lord Walderhurst at a country house party and much to her surprise and that of everyone around her he proposes when she’s hot, sweaty and tramping back across the moor with a basket of fish for her hostess. A romantic proposal of sorts especially when he announces that he likes her quite well for a woman! The second part takes a rather more sinister turn when the usurped heir presumptive of Lord Walderhurst comes back from India to find his chances of inheriting Lord Walderhurst’s fortune significantly reduced because of Emily. Although our modern sensibilities may chafe a little at Emily’s dependence upon and gratitude towards her husband-rescuer, the author paints a sobering picture of the choices and limitations faced by women at the turn of the century, particularly those without family money, trying to find some sort of security. Having to refashion gowns, readorn hats and be perpetually charming and flirtatious must have been exhausting.

  20. 5 out of 5

    QNPoohBear

    This book, written by the author of A Little Princess and The Secret Garden, is an adult romance that set the pace for traditional romances by Georgette Heyer and other writers. The heroine, Emily Fox-Seton is very poor, but manages to get by on 20 pounds a year. She's not very bright, but she's good and kind and everyone loves to take advantage of her good nature. Lady Maria Bayne invites Emily to her house party in the country to assist with the duties of party planning and hosting. The guests This book, written by the author of A Little Princess and The Secret Garden, is an adult romance that set the pace for traditional romances by Georgette Heyer and other writers. The heroine, Emily Fox-Seton is very poor, but manages to get by on 20 pounds a year. She's not very bright, but she's good and kind and everyone loves to take advantage of her good nature. Lady Maria Bayne invites Emily to her house party in the country to assist with the duties of party planning and hosting. The guests include a widowed writer, an American heiress, the beautiful daughter of an impoverished Irish peer, Lady Agatha Slade and the widowed Marquis of Walderhurst, on the hunt for a new wife. Emily becomes invaluable to the hostess and befriends Lady Agatha and helps the younger girl bear her troubles. Emily catches the interest of the Marquis and soon becomes his bride! Emily loves her husband and he enjoys her company. Upon hearing of the Marquis's marriage, his black sheep heir, Osborne and his wife leave India and return to England to determine how to prevent the title from passing to Walderhusrst and Emily's prospective heir to their own. Kind Emily takes pity on Osborne's wife and tries to ease her burdens, but old hatreds die hard and the Osbornes may or may not be involved in a plot to take Emily's life. The plot is fairly typical though not predictable. It takes awhile for the story to get going and then it turns gothic. I didn't really like Emily because she was too kind and good and didn't stand up for herself, but I wanted her to have the happy ending she deserved. The Marquis is hardly in the book, but he seems like a decent fellow if you like dull heroes. If you've read and liked the traditional romances of Georgette Heyer, then you will probably enjoy this book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lady Shockley

    Although primarily known today for her children's books, France's Hodgson Burnett wrote a great many novels for adults, and, in fact, The Making of A Marchioness was written ten years befor A Little Princess. Many of the same themes appear in both books, however. Marchioness is, like Priness, a Cinderella story. In each, a kind, well-mannered character is left in reduced financial circumstances through no fault of her own and must make do in getting on in the world. As in most Cinderlla stories, Although primarily known today for her children's books, France's Hodgson Burnett wrote a great many novels for adults, and, in fact, The Making of A Marchioness was written ten years befor A Little Princess. Many of the same themes appear in both books, however. Marchioness is, like Priness, a Cinderella story. In each, a kind, well-mannered character is left in reduced financial circumstances through no fault of her own and must make do in getting on in the world. As in most Cinderlla stories, things work out well for them in the end, but the struggle is the story. Marchioness is well told, full of enough detail so that a reader can quite easily picture Emily's small bed sit, done up in reds, as well as the people she meets. The one drawback for modern readers is the slightly racist anti-"Hindoo" themes surrounding two of the characters. As these are fought against be Emily herself, however, perhaps these can be seen more as a commentary on society at the time rather than straight racism. Not all the evil- doers are "Hindoo," after all, and the motivations for their bad acts are quite British, as are Burnett's views on marriage. Overall, an enjoyable, well-written book, with characters one can root for.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Miriam

    I read this because I could get it for free on Kindle--I was interested in seeing how Burnett writes for adults. The racism is typical for the time period, but no more pleasant because of that, and the main character is just a little too good. The moral of the story seems to be that if you allow yourself to be put upon by everybody, eventually everything will work out beautifully. For all my complaining, though,Burnett does keep things humming--it doesn't drag the way some books from that period I read this because I could get it for free on Kindle--I was interested in seeing how Burnett writes for adults. The racism is typical for the time period, but no more pleasant because of that, and the main character is just a little too good. The moral of the story seems to be that if you allow yourself to be put upon by everybody, eventually everything will work out beautifully. For all my complaining, though,Burnett does keep things humming--it doesn't drag the way some books from that period do. It is interesting to see some of the themes from her books for children making an appearance here as well.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    I really enjoyed the first part of the story, but was very disappointed by the second part. I thought the second half of the story would be a commentary on domesticity and Victorian marriage, but instead it turned out to be a melodrama with racist undertones. Unfortunately just expected more from a book that is taught alongside P and P and Jane Eyre by some american colleges. Would still recommend though for the lovely first half of the story!

  24. 4 out of 5

    F

    Yeah. So. I can't even begin to enumerate all the tropes that are in the second book. The white saviour, the damsel in distress, the angel in the house, the exotic, evil foreigner woman redeemed by the white woman, long etc. Emily is so good she lets herself almost die just so she doesn't bother her husband, who, by the way, is a piece of shit. Everything ends well [spoilers], Emily is alive, she and Walderhurst have a son, the evil cousin is dead. But at what price. My brain is fried. Yeah. So. I can't even begin to enumerate all the tropes that are in the second book. The white saviour, the damsel in distress, the angel in the house, the exotic, evil foreigner woman redeemed by the white woman, long etc. Emily is so good she lets herself almost die just so she doesn't bother her husband, who, by the way, is a piece of shit. Everything ends well [spoilers], Emily is alive, she and Walderhurst have a son, the evil cousin is dead. But at what price. My brain is fried.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rosemary

    I thought this was lovely. What an unusual heroine - not clever, not exactly beautiful, but big and too NICE for her own good. The whole thing is extremely unlikely, but no less enjoyable for all that. The story has a racist element but the heroine even rises above that.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Zaparenko

    Real treasure

  27. 4 out of 5

    Umi

    Was lamenting to a pal that I hadn’t read many of my usual fun, girly, pre-1960 books last year and the first part of this was LITERAL PERFECTION on that front. The second part is a little disjointed, and I was more than slightly miffed that the whole unlikely-romance-and-detailed-descriptions-of-clothes thing in the first part had been replaced by suspense and a mystical Indian lady’s maid. It has a crazy enough ending, but still. More clothing and romance, please.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Captive Audience

    Like many others, I picked this up because I'd read A Little Princess, The Secret Garden and Little Lord Fauntleroy. This was... not worth picking up. Spoilers follow, but to be honest, there's nothing under this cut that you couldn't guess would be in a not very well written melodrama/romance of the day. (view spoiler)[ The casual racism alone is awful. But on top of that you have a heroine whose sole feature seems to be how 'good' she is, and 'good' means never ever ever never EVER saying 'no' to Like many others, I picked this up because I'd read A Little Princess, The Secret Garden and Little Lord Fauntleroy. This was... not worth picking up. Spoilers follow, but to be honest, there's nothing under this cut that you couldn't guess would be in a not very well written melodrama/romance of the day. (view spoiler)[ The casual racism alone is awful. But on top of that you have a heroine whose sole feature seems to be how 'good' she is, and 'good' means never ever ever never EVER saying 'no' to anyone for any reason, or wanting or desiring anything for yourself, unless that desire is to satisfy someone else's desires. It was gross how often the people who were written as her friends and companions went on and on and ON about that point. Ooh she's so great because we can be selfish with her! Like... who am I supposed to like in this book, exactly? She's also just a tad bit TOO the wrong side of oblivious as far as dealing with other people go. There's oblivious and then there's stupid, and if you are reading about a stupid character, after awhile you're going to get sick of them and kind of WISH they'd just die already if they're going to, because you're bored and want to move on to another book. Part I focuses on Emily's life shortly before marriage, Part II on her life shortly after. Part I has no real intrigue and is a nice enough, mostly harmless romance, though as mentioned above, they do go on about how great it is that she'll do whatever anyone wants. Part II is where the racism kicks in, and also a fairly uninteresting melodrama is inserted centering around Emily and the next-in-line-if-Emily-dies-without-having-a-son nephew and his wife. It was a tedious read and I never did find any bit of it made me think "well, that at least was worth reading." Also they ramp up Emily's devotion to doing aaaaaanything for aaaaaanybody to the degree of just dropping her from "great health big strong woman bla bla" to "oops now she's dying in childbirth for the sake of drama(!)". I mean literally there is no leadup to it, she's fine through murder attempts and all, but then one chapter ends and another begins and suddenly she's all romantically pale and fading on a bed. And then of course, because this is a melodrama, she's all nigh-on-dead at the end of one chapter and then back to being her normal healthy as a horse at the beginning of the next. And then the book ends, VERY abruptly, with everyone dead who ought to be, and it's very abrupt and unsatisfactory and feels super unfinished. (hide spoiler)]

  29. 5 out of 5

    Dawn

    Free on Gutenberg project

  30. 5 out of 5

    Linden

    Have the Persephone edition, but read this much earlier--1984!

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.