Archive for September 3rd, 2011


Lavender and Old Lace

September 3, 2011

Lavender and Old Lace had most of the right pieces to be awesome, but instead it was lopsided, frustrating, and, most importantly, not engaging. I’ll put up with a lot of structural problems and disagreements with the author’s worldview for characters I can like and believe in, but Myrtle Reed never quite pulled it together.

Our heroine is Ruth Thorne, a newspaperwoman who has taken the summer off, partly for the sake of her nerves and partly at the request of Jane Hathaway, her only living relative. Ruth and Miss Hathaway have never met, but Miss Hathaway has received a legacy and is using it to go abroad, and she wants someone to take care of her house. Ruth arrives a week after Miss Hathaway’s departure and finds that the house is quiet and beautiful and that her only responsibilities are to take charge of the unmanageable servant, Hepsey, and to light a lamp in the attic window every night. Miss Hathaway doesn’t explain why the lamp must be lighted, and Hepsey doesn’t know, but she suspects it has something to do with Miss Ainslie, another spinster living nearby. Miss Ainslie and Miss Hathaway grew up together. They’re both in their mid-fifties, and both seem to have some kind or romance lurking in their pasts. But Miss Ainslie is shy, sweet, and reclusive, and lives in a house full of beautiful things, while Miss Hathaway, when she returns, is cranky and bossy, and keeps her Colonial mahogany furniture in the attic. Read the rest of this entry ?