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Violet Vereker’s Vanity

February 9, 2018

Hey, so: Violet Vereker’s Vanity, by Annie Emma Challice. I liked it a lot. And I think probably Annie Emma Challice was before her marriage the Annie Emma Armstrong who wrote Three Bright Girls, which I have owned since childhood and haven’t read in many years.

Violet is the middle daughter in a very nice family, and also she’s a bit of a snob, encouraged by her friend Amy Lawrence. The Lawrences are ostentatious and a little vulgar where the Verekers are quietly well-bred. When the Sugden family moves to the neighborhood and Violet hears that they made their fortune manufacturing soap, she resolves not to mix with them any more than necessary, and certainly never to go to their house.

But the Sugdens turn out to be really nice–especially the eldest son, Marmaduke. Violet, to her credit, realizes this immediately, and feels pretty stupid. But she also feels bound by her promise not to visit the Sugdens, and things become increasingly awkward. And that’s the plot, aside from a series of convenient injuries.

The whole thing is one big lesson about pride, and cutting off your nose to spite your face, and Challice never tries not to be obvious about that, but her writing never really feels didactic. Violet is super relatable, an awkward teenager who feels like she has no choice in doing what she’s doing, even though her situation is entirely of her own making. This is just a good, solid, wholesome, late 19th century book for girls. I approve.

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4 comments

  1. I approve of the name Marmaduke


  2. I so enjoyed this. Do you know if older sister Iris and Lord Charley have a book? There are many indications in Violet and Duke’s story that they do. I searched a bit but only found nonfiction books.


    • I’ve seen a number of other fiction titles from her, but none that looked likely. And, for whatever it’s worth, I didn’t think anything in the book hinted very strongly at a sequel.


      • I was thinking Iris’s story might have been a prequel to Violets.
        There was a few places where things were hinted at about Charley, but not explained. As if we already knew his story and the author was reminding us.
        It would be a fun story if she wrote it. They are a spunky couple.



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