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The Making of a Marchioness Paperback – July 7, 2010
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About the Author
Frances Eliza Hodgson Burnett (1849 –1924) was an English playwright and author. She is best known for her children's stories, in particular The Secret Garden, A Little Princess, and Little Lord Fauntleroy. Born Frances Eliza Hodgson, she lived in Cheetham Hill, Manchester. After the death of her father the family was forced to sell their home, and suffered economic hardship. Until she was sixteen she lived in Salford, and when she was sixteen the family emigrated to Knoxville, Tennessee. There Burnett turned to writing to help earn money for the family, publishing stories in magazines by the time she was nineteen. In 1872 she married Swan Burnett. They lived in Paris for two years where their two sons were born, before returning to the United States to live in Washington D.C. There she began to write novels, the first of which That Lass o' Lowries, was published to good reviews. The publication of Little Lord Fauntleroy in 1886 made her a popular writer of children's fiction, although her romantic adult novels written in the 1890s were also popular. She wrote and helped to produce stage versions of Little Lord Fauntleroy and The Little Princess. Burnett enjoyed socializing and lived a lavish lifestyle. Beginning in the 1880s she began to travel to England frequently and bought a home there in the 1890s. Her oldest son, Lionel, died of tuberculosis in 1892, which caused a relapse of the depression she struggled with for much of her life. She divorced Swan Burnett in 1898 and remarried in 1900, although her second marriage only lasted for a year. At the end of her life she settled in Long Island, where she died in 1924. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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I don't think the author can be beat for her characterizations and literary prose........ I'm constantly entranced with her style!!!
If you are interested in English life and social class as expressed in great details of everyday life or you watch Downton Abbey, you used to watch Upstairs, Downstairs or you read romance novels, then read this book so you know the real story of women's life.
Characters are well-drawn. Protagonist is sympathetic. Story is excellent. Although it has one weird tangent that I won't mention due to spoilers. But it all comes together.
Most recent customer reviews
Emily Fox-Seton is a young woman of good breeding, with wealthy relatives but no parents, and she is poor. This situation, the poor but well-bred young lady, is a common dilemma for Edwardian and Victorian novels. Such a woman has to find a wealthy but acceptable husband, or live in dire poverty taking in sewing, making hats or being a governess. You know the drill...
Emily Fox-Seton earns her bread by running errands and being a sort of employment agent and party organizer for wealthy, lazy and incompetent women of means, among them Lady Maria of Mallows. There, being run ragged by Lady Maria, she meets Lord Walderhurst. The widowed marquess is seeking a second wife to bear an heir to the considerable Walderhurst fortune, but isn't really a very ardent fan of women and all that comes with it. Emily promotes the case of an equally poor but castle-raised Irish beauty with a bunch of sisters waiting in the wings to try their luck at a rich husband if she fails to save the family. However, the target of their designs, Lord Walderhurst, has other ideas.
The second section of the book takes place at the Walderhurst estate. The heir apparent (until Walderhurst cracks one out on his own--entailed estate, ya'know) is a boorish cad named Osbourn married to an Anglo-Indian beauty with an evil servant, who does all the bad things Hester can't bring herself to do. I think the novel was originally written to have Hester be the villain, but the author split off Hester's bad parts and made her more sympathetic and gave the ayah Ameera the dirty work to do along with Osbourn. The entire section is dripping with melodrama and comes off like a third-rate penny dreadful. Sad, as the novel began so well.
The third half recovers well--and Emily and Walderhurst face a huge challenge. TYou think "this one is going to die" but then there is a surprise turn. The end, however, peters out as if it was hastily shut off. The novel was originally in two parts, and it shows. (I "read" the audiobook, which seems to be both novels combined. It was also filmed, perhaps not very well from the reviews, which is sad as with editing, it could actually be quite fun. Read more