Open a book this minute and start reading. Don’t move until you’ve reached page fifty. Until you’ve buried your thoughts in print. Cover yourself with words. Wash yourself away. Dissolve. Carol Shields Republic of Love

Mazo de la Roche’s Mary Wakefield (1949)

There were “few openings for women in the nineties” and, so, Mary Wakefield is forced to consider work as a governess in the 1890s.

She is fortunate, in fact, that Ernest Whiteoak is seeking a governess for his brother’s young son (nine years old) and daughter (seven years old).

Their mother died seven years ago and […]


Elizabeth Taylor: A Wreath of Roses

It’s not all cozy rooms with lace curtains, plants in pots, ticking clocks, ornaments and coronation mugs, the wireless playing, and tabby cats waiting.

1949; Penguin Books, 1984

It’s true that, when A Wreath of Roses opens, Camilla is waiting for the train which will take her to the countryside, to vacation for a […]


Persephone: Why Hetty Dorval?

1949; New Canadian Library 1990

I don’t really need an answer to the question I’ve posed.

I understand why Persephone would have chosen to print Hetty Dorval over The Innocent Traveller: Ethel Wilson’s first book is certainly a striking work and brings to mind other brilliant novellas (e.g. Kate Chopin’s The Awaking, Edith Wharton’s […]