9th Blogiversary catch-up

March 4, 2016

Oh hey. It’s been another year.  Thanks for sticking around for nine years (!!!) even when I continue to do things like post half a dozen times in two weeks and then go the next two weeks without posting anything at all.

Anyway, it seems like a good day for a catch-up.

Jane Lends a Hand, by Shirley Watkins

This is the reason I have so much to catch up on, because I really wanted to review it properly. So, um, things I wanted to say:

  • This feels like a bunch of different books. One about Jane’s place in her family, the story of her cousin Paul, the romance of Tim who’s last name I’ve now forgotten, the one about the person learning to embrace their destiny as heir to the family bakery. I would have enjoyed any of those.
  • I enjoyed this.
  • I like Jane so much–she’s so…thoughtful and thoughtless at the same time. So convincing as a teenager. I wish she was more solidly the central character.

Drusilla With a Million, by Elizabeth Cooper

I’ve read this three times now, I think, and I’ve posted about it before. I keep wanting to read it, but I also don’t love it. It’s the story of a penniless elderly spinster inheriting a million dollars from a distant cousin, and moving into his community and shaking things up a little, which, you know…two thumbs up, or three, or four. But it’s also pretty racist and sort of reactionary, I guess, and bugs me as often as it delights me.

The Last Rose of Summer, by Rupert Hughes

There are times when I feel super predictable, like when I’m reading a humdrum story about an unattractive spinster who is obviously going to blossom and eventually get married.and then someone offers her a job and suddenly I’m actually interested. That said, this wasn’t bad.

A Cathedral Courtship, by Kate Douglas Wiggin

An American girl accompanies her aunt on a tour of British cathedrals. A young man falls in love with her at first sight, finds their dropped itinerary, and follows them. When I started this, I thought, “Oh, this is Kate Douglas Wiggin’s Williamsons story,” but as it turns out that it’s not that interesting. Like, it is exactly what you expect, but uninspired and full of unnecessary deprecation of women.

Penelope’s English Experiences, by Kate Douglas Wiggin

This is barely a story–there’s a romance plot that needs to be in order, but mostly you could shuffle the chapters and it would be fine. And I mean that in a nice way. I would happily have spent more time with Salemina, Penelope and Francesca as they navigated English society, and it’s nice to know that this is just the first in a series.

Penelope’s Experiences in Scotland/Penelope’s Progress, by Kate Douglas Wiggin

More of the same–but, again, in a nice way. Wiggin is so competent, and I feel like most of the time it sounds like I’m damning her with faint praise, but I don’t mean it that way. A lot of this–descriptions of sermons and storekeepers and country walks–should be boring, but it’s not, because she’s good.




  1. Congrats on your 9th year! Thanks for reminding me of Shirley Watkins. A long time ago I read Georgina Finds Herself (available at Internet Archives) and really liked it but couldn’t find anything else of hers. I had totally forgotten about her and am looking forward to Jane Lends a Hand and Nancy of Paradise Cottage. I’ll give the Rupert Hughes book a try too.

    • Oh, cool–I also would enjoy reading more by her.

      The Hughes thing is super short–it’ll take you, like, half an hour.

  2. Congratulations on the 9th year of your blog! Years ago I looked at your blog and forgot all about it. Today I rediscovered it when I was searching for information and links to the Patty Fairfield series of books. Looking around (or rather scrolling down), I see many interesting public domain books I would like to try! Which worries me a bit because my To Read List keeps growing steadily! :D

    • Thanks! I’m sorry for being a menace to your To Read list. Mine has become so many lists that it’s now useless.

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