Category Archives: Classics

The Squire

The title character in this 1938 novel by Enid Bagnold is a mother in her 40s expecting her fifth child. Her husband is usually by her side, but this time, his work has called him away, and she’s left to … Continue reading

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The Caravaners

Baron Otto Von Ottridge, the narrator of this 1909 novel by Elizabeth von Arnim, sees himself as a source of great wisdom and humor, the most interesting person at any gathering. And so, he assumes that he will have no … Continue reading

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The Murderess

As Hadoula, the 60-year-old protagonist of this 1903 novel by Alexandros Papdiamantis (and translated from Greek by Peter Levi) takes care of her infant granddaughter, she considers her life as a woman and the lives of her daughters. How much … Continue reading

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Beast in View

This old-school 1955 suspense novel by Margaret Millar features a fractured family whose secrets are being pulled out of the darkness by a resentful woman whose feelings have bred a sort of madness that makes her a danger to everyone … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction, Mysteries/Crime | 2 Comments

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

I became interested Sherlock Holmes mostly through Laurie King’s Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series. Prior to reading those books, I’d read maybe a handful of Conan Doyles’s short stories and The Hound of the Baskervilles. But I’m enjoying slowly working through the originals. … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction, Mysteries/Crime, Short Stories/Essays | 4 Comments

Devoted Ladies

A few years ago, I read Good Behavior by Molly Keane, and it was a novel that I admired more than liked. It had a pleasingly dark plot and well-developed characters, but I felt I was being kept at a distance … Continue reading

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The Gentlewomen

This 1952 novel by Laura Talbot is about a snob — it says so right in the epigraph, which is a dictionary definition of the word. The snob in question is Miss Bolby, a gentlewoman who prizes her connections above … Continue reading

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Alas, Poor Lady

This novel by Rachel Ferguson opens in 1936 at a town bazaar. At the event is a group of elderly men and women, formerly of the upper classes, but now in need and receiving assistance. Among those women is a … Continue reading

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Poor Miss Finch

As you all may be aware, I am a big Wilkie Collins fan. In my view, there’s nothing more fun, or more satisfying for summer reading, than a big old sensationalist Victorian novel — and the more sensationalist the better. … Continue reading

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Mary Barton

Mary Barton is Elizabeth Gaskell’s first novel. It takes place in the industrial town of Manchester, and (like North and South) it is full of industrial concerns: factories, foundries, trade unions, strikes, wages, masters and men, and the inevitable conflict. … Continue reading

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