Posts Tagged ‘1910s’

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Our Miss York

April 9, 2020

611Id3BMbwL._SY679_I think what we all need during this frankly awful time is, yes, another book from the teens about a young woman earning a living. Happy ending a must.

I can’t find out much about Edwin Bateman Morris, but he has an intriguing list of titles, and he was apparently considered worthy of Coles Phillips cover art. And while Our Miss York didn’t wow me, it has a lot of great elements.

Margaret York is an orphan, reluctantly adopted by an uncle who has no patience for children, and less money than he once did. She grows up industrious and efficient, in contrast to her friend David Bruce, who has a moderate income and drifts from hobby to hobby without ever settling down to work at anything. When Margaret’s uncle dies, she takes a stenography course and goes to work at the Waring Company. She learns the business as thoroughly as she can, and draws the attention of Willis Potter, the director, who gives her advice and steers her towards new opportunities–though whether for her benefit or his own, it’s not always clear.

Margaret does well–has some adventures, reconnects with her childhood friend David, makes friends with an older businesswoman–but, as books like this too often do, Our Miss York narrows down to the old business or family question, and the answer is a little too much of a foregone conclusion. Also, I would have liked to see Morris tie together and follow through on threads that he only casts in the same direction, like how Margaret’s upbringing–or lack of it–influences her. But it’s hard to complain about a book full of people being good at things, where the heroine gets to have both personal and professional success, and also pilot a motorboat. I don’t love Our Miss York, but I do recommend it.

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The Blue Envelope

March 13, 2020

Is a book ever as good all the way through, especially when there’s a romantic climax to get through and authors can’t be depended on not to forget what their characters are actually like, or pretend that actually it was love at first sight? Sophie Kerr, author of The Blue Envelope (not to be confused with The Blue Envelope by Roy Snell), isn’t much more dependable in that way than the average author, but she built up so much good will in the first half of the book that I wasn’t really disappointed. Read the rest of this entry ?

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When the Yule Log Burns

December 25, 2018

So, uh, hey. It’s been a while.

I’m really sorry for not posting for so long. I’m really sorry for missing Captain Blood Day. I tried to get something together but I just couldn’t do it. But I didn’t want to let Christmas pass without at least one Christmas story. And I’ve only got one, but, as luck would have it, the one story I read was kind of two.

Leona Dalrymple is pretty good at Christmas stories. Jimsy: The Christmas Kid and In The Heart of the Christmas Pines are exactly what Christmas stories should be. When the Yule Log Burns is…also many things a Christmas story should be, and I’m tempted to say that it’s my own fault I didn’t love it. Maybe I would too anxious to get something read and reviewed. Maybe I’ve read too many of these things before. And, you know, I like a predictable Christmas story. But this one (these ones) left me kind of bored. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Spray on the Windows

July 20, 2018

The thing about Spray on the Windows (by J.E. Buckrose) is that I’ve only just admitted to myself, a month and a half after finishing it, that I don’t like it. I feel guilty about that, because it’s not bad. It’s just that Buckrose’s thesis is that no matter how much life sucks, it’s going to be okay if you’re with the person you love, and to prove that thesis, she has to make life suck pretty bad. For most of the book, things are sort of okay, but you know where it’s going, and “how unhappy is everyone going to be?” is my least favorite kind of suspense.

Our protagonist is Ann Middleton, who has just moved to the seaside town of Wodenscar to work for the wealthy and eccentric Mrs. Barrington. Mrs. Barrington has a nephew who Ann would like to marry, and he likes her, too — but not necessarily enough to offer her marriage. Then there’s Ann’s neighbor Stephen Finlay, poor and disgraced and possibly a bit of an obstacle to Ann marrying for money.

You get to stress through her romantic decisions, stress through her married life, and stress through some possibly supernatural deaths and near-deaths. It’s…not that much fun. But I suspect that if I was a little less prone to anxiety, I would have liked it a lot more.

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Fashion Magazines – 1904, 1916, 1922

June 13, 2018

This past week I’ve been a) mainlining Grace S. Richmond books I’ve already read and b) burying myself in early 20th century fashion magazines via Google Books. I thought some of you guys might enjoy the results of b).

My Twitter threads with lots of clipped illustrations, quotes, and a smidgen of commentary:

Take a look and tell me which dresses you’re picturing on which fictional characters.

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The Seed of the Righteous

June 3, 2018

The Seed of the Righteous feels like Juliet Wilbor Tompkins’s entry into the subgenre that includes V.V.’s Eyes, The Clarion, and A Poor Wise Man. But those are about wealthy young people coming to terms with the ethical realities of their situations, and this is about a poor one. Read the rest of this entry ?

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The Girl Crusoes

June 1, 2018

I don’t know how I feel about The Girl Crusoes (by Mrs. Herbert Strang, a pseudonym for the same two guys who wrote as Mr. Herbert Strang). I love a good survival story, which I think means this isn’t one. Also I wish people writing about castaways wouldn’t populate their tropical islands; so often it just seems like an excuse to be super racist. Read the rest of this entry ?