Little Miss GrouchAugust 9, 2011
All you members of the fluffy romance contingent will not want to miss out on Samuel Hopkins Adams’ Little Miss Grouch, the most adorable and entertaining novel of transatlantic crossing that it’s ever been my pleasure to read.
The Tyro, starting out on his first voyage across the Atlantic, makes the acquaintance of the titular character when she repeatedly steps on his foot as they both bid farewell to the retreating shore (he’s just waving for the fun of it; she’s trying to avoid the notice of a man who is jumping up and down, trying to attract her attention). She’s veiled and dowdily dressed, and she’s crying, so her nose is red and her face is puffy, and she’s altogether a pretty unprepossessing sight. However unattractive he finds her, though, when he hears that she’s running away to avoid marrying the guy her father’s forced her to get engaged to (the jumping-up-and-down guy), he’s sympathetic. And she’s sort of grateful to him, but becomes less so when she overhears him calling her homely.
She appears the following morning looking beautiful, all traces of her crying jag being gone, and takes great pleasure in embarrassing the Tyro. She also refuses to reveal her name, and so he makes one up, leading to a series of misunderstandings that always felt much less contrived than it probably should have.
The Tyro and Little Miss Grouch fall in love of course, and normally I’d complain that he only likes her because she’s beautiful. And based only on what people say outright, that’s true, but it turns out they don’t have to say the other stuff, because there are sparks between Little Miss Grouch and the Tyro from the first time she steps on his foot. And then he gets all heroic and stuff, but kind of casually. It’s lovely.