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 […]

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Mavis Gallant’s “A Day Like Any Other” (1953)

There is less than a year between Jane and Ernestine Kennedy, young sisters who “resemble little Renoirs”. They live with their mother, Mrs. Kennedy, who is so preoccupied with caring for their father, that the girls have a minder, Frau Stengel (their sixth).

Jane Wyman in “Das Herz Einer Mutti” 1951Click for source details

Frau […]

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Elizabeth Taylor: Palladian (A Virago Modern Classic)

If it had only been made into a film, I’m convinced that Elizabeth Taylor’s Palladian would enjoy the same public flourishes of devotion that Stella Gibbons’ Cold Comfort Farm can claim.

Both novels are so bookishly satirical that we bookish folks have to squint to see the satire.

But where Stella Gibbons was casting glances […]

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