All you members of the fluffy romance contingent will not want to miss out on Samuel Hopkins Adams’ Little Miss Grouch, the most adorable and entertaining novel of transatlantic crossing that it’s ever been my pleasure to read. Read the rest of this entry ?
Posts Tagged ‘fluff’
Mark recommended The Island Mystery, by George A. Birmingham, as a silly, fun book. And to be honest, that kind of made me nervous. I feel like I haven’t had a great track record with silly, fun books lately. I’ve been finding them silly, but not all that fun.
The Island Mystery was a little different. I wasn’t wildly enthusiastic about it or anything, but I liked it a lot better at the beginning than I did at the end, and I don’t think there’s anything about it that I’d want to change, except maybe the title, which is kind of lame and would work much better on a different book. Possible one featuring the Boxcar Children.
You know all those Ruritanian romances where the author makes up a small monarchy and plunks it down somewhere in the middle of Europe so that the hero can go have adventures there? The Island Mystery is a tiny bit like that, but really it’s about what would happen if you did plunk an imaginary country down in the middle of Europe. Because, if you think about it, the surrounding nations might be a bit upset by that, not to mention confused. Read the rest of this entry ?
Donald Prime is a writer from New York, Lucetta Millington a teacher in an Ohio boarding school. They become acquainted when they wake up one day on the shore of a Canadian lake. Neither of them has any idea how they got there, but there’s a pile of provisions and signs that an airplane has landed nearby, and from these Prime deduces that his friend Watson Grider is playing an extremely elaborate practical joke. I say ‘deduces,’ but you shouldn’t draw any conclusions from that, or from anything Prime thinks. As far as I could tell, he’s not particularly good at anything, even his chosen profession. Grider certainly doesn’t think so — Prime’s main reason for suspecting him is that Grider once said that if Prime were stranded on a desert island with a woman for a while, perhaps his female characters wouldn’t be so one-dimensional. Presumably having to depend on Lucetta’s superior skill in just about everything is meant to cure that problem, but he manages to be pretty condescending to the “little woman” even after she’s saved his life and proved to be a lot more resilient and level-headed than he is. Read the rest of this entry ?
This one is for those of you who like fluffy romances. Read the rest of this entry ?
The Social Secretary, a novel of Washington, D.C. society, is kind of adorable, but surprisingly fluffy to have been written by a muckraking journalist. David Graham Phillips was known for exposing all sorts of corruption in the senate, and I suppose, as far as subject matter is concerned, that senators taking bribes aren’t all that far removed from senators’ wives trying to dominate local society. I think there must be a pretty big difference in tone, though. Read the rest of this entry ?
Well, I’ve found something I like, and it is terrible.
I suspect Miss Million’s Maid is the kind of book written for servant girls and such, although my only reason for thinking that is that the writing feels sort of cheap somehow. And then, Berta Ruck’s portrayal of the actual servant girl character isn’t terribly flattering. But hey, I have no idea what I’m talking about, so whatever.
Beatrice Lovelace and her Aunt Anastasia are the descendants of a ridiculously aristocratic family, but they have no money. And Aunt Anastasia is the snobbiest of snobs, so, because they can’t afford to associate with their own class, she won’t allow Beatrice to associate with anyone at all. The only people Beatrice speaks to are the maid, Million, and the attractive man who lives next door, who Aunt Anastasia insists must be a bounder and a cad, mainly because he lives in their neighborhood. Beatrice really wants someone to die and leave her a lot of money, but when someone in the house does inherit a fortune, it’s Nellie Million.
Million — Beatrice keeps forgetting to add “Miss” a the beginning — has no idea what to do with her money, so Beatrice becomes her lady’s maid, to the horror of Aunt Anastasia. She helps Million buy the right clothes. move to the right hotel, etc., but she can’t stop her from quickly falling in with a bad crowd — vulgar comedienne Vi Vassity, impoverished Irish younger son James Burke, a Jew (horrors!) and various other inappropriate people.
The Honorable James Burke, in particular, is very obviously a fortune hunter, although his personal inclination is more towards Beatrice than her employer. Beatrice, though, has another suitor to worry about — Reginald Brace, her boy next door, turns out to be the manager of the bank where Miss Million has opened an account. He quickly loses the sense of humor I thought he had and develops a passionate desire to take Beatrice away from her offensive surroundings.
Additional complications arrive in the form of a jewel robbery — Miss Million and Beatrice are the main suspects for fairly inadequate reasons — and Miss Million’s American cousin Hiram Jessup — he has come to England either to marry Miss Million, or, if that doesn’t work, to attempt to legally deprive her of her fortune. Meanwhile, Miss Million has fallen in love with Jim Burke, who continues to flirt with Beatrice whenever possible. It’s hard to blame her, though — Miss Million, I mean — because it’s very difficult not to like Jim Burke.
It’s a fun read, although the writing seemed lazy at times, and I still don’t understand why a Cockney girl brought up in an orphanage is so much more naive than a girl who has been reared in near-seclusion by a spinster aunt. I have other quibbles, too, but none of them really got in the way of my enjoyment of the book. It’s fluffy and silly, and one of those books that pretend to be enlightened about class issues but aren’t at all, and everyone ends up pretty happy, except for a rejected suitor and some people standing inconveniently in the way of a title.
I’m pretty sure Miss Million’s Maid has no literary merit whatsoever, but that’s no reason not to read it.
It’s really hot in London, and Geoffrey West is coping by going to the Carlton for breakfast every morning, partly because it’s a bit cooler there, and partly because it’s the only place where you can still get strawberries. The American girl who comes in with her father one morning has the bad taste to prefer grapefruit to strawberries, but she shares West’s fondness for the Personal Notices section of the Daily Mail, AKA the agony column. People use it to discreetly send messages, whether they be love letters, “fly at one; all is discovered,” or cryptic remarks about fish. And so it seems perfectly reasonable, if a little unconventional, for West to use it to communicate with the girl, with whom he has fallen in love at first sight. Read the rest of this entry ?