The Making of a Marchioness by Frances Hodgson Burnett

This is Persephone Book no 29 and as I recall I bought it from a charity bookshop in St Andrews more than a year ago but I read recently on a blog (which one?) that it was a great read so I got down to reading it at last.

Frances Hodgson Burnett is of course well known to us through her books The Little Princess and The Secret Garden but this is the first of her books for adults which I’ve read and I really did enjoy it.

Emily Fox-Seton has the knack of finding good in everyone, her character is so sweet and good that she should really be a bit of a sickener but amazingly she isn’t. She’s not a fool or a prig but has great common sense and is stoical about her situation. She is a 34 year old woman of good breeding but without money and she has to earn her living by being a bit of a dogsbody for ladies who will pay her to help them, securing good cooks for them or tracking down bargains at sales, anything which will enable her to keep life and soul together.

At 34 she’s deemed to be not only on the shelf but positively dusty and she seems never to have any hopes in that direction for herself, but as this book is a bit of a fairy tale for adults, and given the title of the book it’s obvious that things are going to take that turn for her. Like all good fairy tales though, there is a dark period of danger around the middle of the book. Will it all fall apart for Emily? Well what do you think!

If you want to read this book you can download it from Project Gutenberg it’s under the name of Emily Fox-Seton there.

There are lots of Frances Hodgson Burnett books to choose from, have a look here.