Book Reviews

The Rector's Daughter (Virago Modern Classics) by F.M. Mayor

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List Price: £9.99


Paperback: 368 Pages.

Published: 10 August 1987 by Virago

Edition: New Ed

ISBN: 0860689115

EAN: 9780860689119

Dedmayne Rectory is quietly decaying, its striped chintz and darkened rooms are a bastion of outmoded Victorian values. Here Mary has spent thirty-five years, devoting herself to her sister, now dead, and to her father, Canon Jocelyn. Although she is pitied by her neighbours for this muted existence, Mary is content. But when she meets Robert Herbert, Mary's ease is destroyed and years of suppressed emotion surface through her desire for him. First published in 1924 this novel is an impressive exploration of Mary's relationship with her father, of her need for Robert and the way in which, through each, she comes to a clearer understanding of love.


4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars  by Anne

Elegant writing - well observed

This is a story of loss and regret as Mary, the rector's daughter of the title, grows up plain and virtually unwanted, sees the possibility of happiness, tastes it for a brief moment and then has to live without it. It is a well observed book about the real plight of some women in 1920s Britain who are required to live a life constrained by the expectations of others. In places I was reminded of Jane Austen in the close examination of lives lived in very small communities but, although elegantly written, it lacked the wit and humour of the classic novelist.

This is an excellent read and eye opening for those looking back at a very different world. It lacks hope, however, as Mary and other characters make the best of unfulfilled lives in narrow constraints. It is a book to be admired and to enjoy the excellent writing but it is not a book that will lift the spirits or make you feel better about life - and it is not designed to.

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