Review 1788: Miss Plum and Miss Penny

At 40, Miss Penny leads a full life in the village. She has her village activities and her two close friends, Hubert, the vicar, a timid widower with a son, and Stanley, a self-pleasing fussy man. Miss Penny always receives a birthday letter from George, the suitor her parents disapproved of, but this year it doesn’t arrive. Miss Penny is hurt and begins to wonder what her life would be if she had left with George.

On her way to the movies, Miss Penny stops a woman from drowning herself in the duck pond. When she finds out the woman has no money and nowhere to go, she takes her home and is soon nursing her through an illness. Miss Plum turns out to be a whiny neurotic who bursts into tears and complains about her hard life. She also shows a tendency to hero-worship Miss Penny.

This darkish comedy shows an insight into human character, for you needn’t make the mistake of thinking Miss Penny’s efforts are rewarded with gratitude. In fact, she is soon consumed by only one thought—how to get Miss Plum out of her house.

This fun novel is filled with eccentric characters. I enjoyed it a lot and was happy to read it for my Classics Club list.

O, The Brave Music

The Stone of Chastity

All Done By Kindness

Review 1613: O, The Brave Music

Seven-year-old Ruan Ashley leads a bleak existence. Her unhappy mother seems to care little for her, preferring her sister Sylvia. Her father is a dour nonconformist minister. They have little money and live in a poor area of a Yorkshire factory town. Ruan is misunderstood, a dreamer who loves reading, especially poetry, and thirsts for beauty.

Things look up when Rosie, the daughter of a wealthy factory owner, comes to visit with David, a boy Rosie’s father has adopted. They take her for a visit to their home up in the moors, where she and David run wild. Family illness calls for her to remain there for the summer.

Ruan’s life becomes one of loss, but it is also mixed with some times of great contentment. Daring it all, she remains herself, a person who refuses to conform to expectation.

This novel is touching as well as lyrical. It is a true ode to life, written in 1940 and looking back 40 years.

I received this book from the publishers in exchange for a free and fair review.

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