Here, the villain of note is Mamelouk who is “big and black as a thundercloud” but no match for Miss Bianca and Bernard, who willingly do their duty and execute their orders.
In the second volume, the villain is the Grand Duchess, who is as “gaunt as a gallows” and her face is permanently marked by arrogance, selfishness and cruelty. She also has mechanical Ladies-In-Waiting, which are truly unsettling. (Yikes.)
Miss Bianca (1962) is the story upon which the Disney film is most closely based (although it bears little resemblance to the book, even changing the prisoner’s name from Patience to Penny).
Patience has been brought to bring a human touch to the care for The Grand Duchess. There is also a pair or energetic bloodhounds and a desperate servant, the Major Domo, who fears the Duchess because she has evidence of a crime he committed.
None of this deters Miss Bianca, from the moment we hear her silvery voice as Chairwoman at the meeting of the Prisoners’ Aid Society (now there are multiple prisoners; in the first book the noun was singular), we know that she will be capable of rescuing Penny.
But Miss Bianca is also eager to build the confidence of the Ladies’ Guild (P.A.S.L.G.) and they make notable contributions to this effort as well. Soon, however, her rescuing duties begin to overshadow her poetic duties.
In many instances, while adventuring, she does manage to scribble down some lines of verse but she often observes that it is necessarily hasty work.
(Bernard admires all her creations equally, but Miss Bianca has high expectations of herself.)
How will Miss Bianca balance the needs of her literary (and not-so-literary) admirers with the desperation of needy captives?
Stay tuned for talk of The Turret and the remaining books in the series.