Posts Tagged ‘romance’

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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 Shuttle

January 13, 2020

I’ve been meaning to read Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Shuttle for years, but somehow never managed to get there until I got a very compelling email about it from RQ reader Franziska. Yes, I knew it was about an American heiress marrying a titled Englishman, but did I know it featured a competent young woman restoring a crumbling estate, or an abusive husband being defied and punished? I couldn’t have, or I would have read it ages ago. Read the rest of this entry ?

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The Devil’s Cub

January 14, 2019

I read The Devil’s Cub, by Georgette Heyer, on Friday and Saturday, mostly with my feet up in front of a fire. That felt right, and picturesque, but also necessary, since the heating system was off and the house took a while to get comfortable again after we got it turned back on.

I’m pretty sure this is the third time I’ve read The Devil’s Cub. It’s not one of my favorite Heyers. I wasn’t crazy about it the first time I read it, I liked it a little better the second time, and this time was a different kind of experience because I was reading it knowing I was going to write about it.

The Devil’s Cub is a sequel to These Old Shades, which is a pseudo-sequel to The Black Moth, which I could have sworn I’d posted about, but I guess not. In The Black Moth, the hero and heroine are menaced by Tracy Belmanoir, Duke of Andover, AKA “Devil.” In These Old Shades, Tracy has been transformed into Justin Alastair, Duke of Avon, AKA “Satanas,” but he’s the same person, temporarily transported to Paris. There he meets and employs a boy who turns out to be a girl. Eventually he marries her. You know how it goes.

The Devil’s Cub takes place about 25 years later. Justin and Léonie’s son Dominic, Marquis of Vidal, has something of his father’s bad reputation. He eventually makes London too hot to hold him, and his father orders him to flee to the Continent. He makes a pit stop to pick up Sophia Challoner, the girl he’s been planning on making his mistress, but here things go (more) wrong. His letter to Sophia ends up in the hands of her much more virtuous older sister, Mary, and she takes Sophia’s place to save her virtue, assuming Vidal will send her home when he discovers the switch. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Why Not?

May 25, 2018

It’s funny how much text sources influence my reading. When I want to read Margaret Widdemer, I always go for The Rose-Garden Husband and The Wishing-Ring Man, and that’s mostly because they’re great, and a bit because each one makes me want to read the other, but it’s also a little bit because they’re on Project Gutenberg. If Why Not? was on Gutenberg instead of Google Books, it would go on my list of favorite Widdemer books. Read the rest of this entry ?

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A Safety Match

May 16, 2018

A Safety Match is like if Ian Hay deliberately set out to write a fun he/she fell in love with his/her wife/husband book minus all of the really knotty emotional scenes, and mostly succeeded. In fact, I’m not sure it’s not on purpose. Skipping past Daphne’s early married life seems like a spoilsport move, but I can see him legitimately not finding that interesting. Skipping past most of her estrangement from her husband…well, I can see me not finding that all that interesting. But when Jack Carr’s secretary sends Daphne home and Hay excises only the part of the conversation that convinces her, I began to get annoyed. He does give us the reconciliation scene, but by then everything is a foregone conclusion, so it’s not that exciting. Actually, nothing is that exciting. There are few surprises in this book. Hay knows all the beats this romance plot is supposed to hit, and he hits them.  Read the rest of this entry ?

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Old Valentines

May 11, 2018

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Found Yet Lost

October 12, 2017

I went to a very nice book sale last weekend and…accidentally bought a book I already had. This is what comes of buying books and then not reading them.

Anyway, it was Found Yet Lost, by Edward Payson Roe, and this time I read it immediately. It’s a Civil War story. There’s this girl, Helen Kemble, and two men have been in love with her since they were all children. Albert Nichol is a captain in the Union army, and is presumably everything that is fine and upstanding. He and Helen are not quite officially engaged. Hobart Martine is unspecifically disabled, and therefore is not regarded by anyone as a legitimate love interest.

Nichol is struck by a shell and left to rot in a ditch, and Martine, wanting to do Helen a service, goes South to see if he can recover the body. He doesn’t find it, but he does talk to Nichol’s men and to other soldiers from their town, and impresses everyone with his courage. Then he goes home for just long enough to form a deeper friendship with Helen and her parents before returning to the South to work as a nurse.

After the war, he and Helen get closer, and she slowly falls in love with him. Roe seems to feel this requires an excuse, so: apparently Helen feels things very deeply but her feelings don’t necessarily last. Great. Martine is inclined to think she just pities him, but eventually he’s convinced, and they make plans to get married.

Just before the wedding, he’s summoned to Washington, DC to see a sick cousin. In the hospital, he runs into Nichol, who has amnesia and an unpleasantly altered personality. Come on, you knew that was coming, right? Martine has to decide whether to tell everyone, or pretend he never saw Nichol, but Martine has never done an underhanded thing in his life, so he brings Nichol home with him and does his very best to spare unpleasantness to everyone but himself.

There’s also a short story at the end of the volume, about a farmer’s daughter who comes home after spending time in the city. Her father is worried that she won’t be satisfied with their simple life anymore. She wants to know if her fancy city suitor shows up as well in the country as he did in town. It’s cute.

It’s not bad, this book. But it’s not good enough for me to want two copies. Does anyone want one?*

*I’ll mail it anywhere in the US. I don’t want to make a big giveaway thing out of this. I’ll give it to whoever wants it and if more than one person wants it priority goes to frequent commenters.