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The Lilac Lady

July 18, 2017

The second of Ruth Alberta Brown’s Peace Greenfield books is The Lilac Lady. The Greenfield girls live in the city now, in a big house with its own stables and a lawn that slopes down to the river. Wealth doesn’t change Peace, except by giving her more leisure to get involved in other peoples’ business — whether that means giving her shoes to a poor girl or confronting boys who are bullying an animal or arranging a treat for an asylum full of orphans. All this altruism would feel oppressive if Peace didn’t have such a vivid personality. She’s dreamy and quick-tempered at the same time, interested in everything and incapable of sitting still.

Anyway, you would think her introduction to a new home in a new city would provide a book’s worth of plot, but Peace doesn’t get to enjoy her new home for long before she’s quarantined out of it and has to make a long visit with friends. There she meets the Lilac Lady of the title — a young woman confined to a wheelchair and extremely bitter about it. Peace eases the bitterness, of course, and finds ways to help out a bunch of other folks besides.

This might be my favorite of the three Peace Greenfield books. Brown isn’t super successful when she tries to foreground the other sisters, and separating Peace from them for most of the book was a smart idea. There’s just enough plot to hold the narrative together, and just enough logistical detail (changing schools, going to the drugstore every day to use the telephone) to keep it grounded. I had reservations about At the Little Brown House, but by the time I finished The Lilac Lady Brown had me completely on board.

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2 comments

  1. Your description of Peace reminds me of a character from a historical romance series named Pandora: http://heidenkind.blogspot.com/2015/12/review-cold-hearted-rake-by-lisa-kleypas.html (that review doesn’t say much about her, but she gets her own story in book 3)


    • A Peace-like character in a historical romance sounds like fun — and Pandora would make a more fitting name for Peace than the one she’s got.



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