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Lavender and Old Lace

Myrtle Reed

Book Overview: 

Jane Hathaway and her niece, Ruth Thorne, have never met. Jane invites Ruth for a visit, but leaves before Ruth comes. Ruth agrees to come to Jane for quiet and rest. When Ruth arrives, the maid gives her a letter from her aunt. In the letter, Aunt Jane does not tell Ruth anything about her trip abroad but insists that Ruth light an oil lamp in the attic each night. Very soon, the all together forgotten past and the steady present are united.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Isn't it beautiful to see things grow?"

"It is indeed," Ruth assented, forgetting the momentary awkwardness, "and I have lived for a long time where I have seen nothing grow but car tracks and high buildings. May I come again and see your garden?"

"I shall be so glad to have you," replied Miss Ainslie, with a quaint stateliness. "I have enjoyed your visit so much and I hope you will come again very soon."

"Thank you—I will."

Her hostess had opened the door for her, but Ruth stood in the hall, waiting, in obedience to some strange impulse. Then she stepped outside, but something held her back-something that lay unspoken between them. Those unfathomable eyes were fixed upon her, questioning, pleading, and searching her inmost soul.

Ruth looked at her, wondering, and striving to answer the mute appeal. Then Miss Ainslie laid her hand upon her arm. "My dear," she asked, earnestly, "do you light the lamp in the att. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Well written, wonderful imagery, but the end as not as strong as the beginning of the book, which started out very promising. Still, it was a nice book and I would recommend it for anyone who loves language, Ms. Reed appears to have quite the mastery of it.

3 1/2 stars. I always love Myrtle Reed's books. I underline passages for future reference and pondering. I enjoy the stories. I enjoyed this book too although I found it a little too sweet at times. I was happy that the end left me feeling that there was more depth to the characters than we see thro

Well written and with relatable characters. There wasn't really any huge plot twists though it felt like it was leading up to something, but it's a pleasant, short, and heartwarming read.

This is a book the adult Anne of Green Gables would have loved. A rather prickly heroine, Ruth Thorne, comes to stay at her aunt's seaside house while her aunt travels to Europe for 6 months. There she finds her aunt already gone, leaving a mysterious letter asking her to light a lamp in an upstairs

This book was such a disappointment.
It sets up nicely with a central mystery: just why is Ruth instructed by her absent aunt, who she's never met, to light a lamp in the attic window each night?
(view spoiler)[We imagine smuggling, pirates, ship safety perhaps, a signal to someone. The truth is revealed at the end (hide spoiler)]

I was a little confused at times about why the main character was so rude and emotional towards the maid, Hepsey. Aside from the unexplained mood swings, this was an interesting story for its glimpse of life in the late 1800's.

My first book by Myrtle Reed, written in 1902. It is a simple, romantic, Victorian, small-town plot about women disappointed (or not) in love. It reminded me a lot of L.M. Montgomery's stories. I liked the wittiness of it--the banter between the main characters was enjoyable, and I was really enjoyi

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