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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

I read my grandmother's copy of this book 50 years ago, and loved it as a child. I re-read it this year, and it is still a very sweet love story.

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

Enjoyable Edwinian romance. My copy has a copywrite date of 1903.

Lavender and Old Lace by Myrtle Reed, written in 1902, opens with 34-year-old Ruth Thorne coming to occupy her aunt’s cottage while her aunt is away. She’s never met her aunt, Miss Jane Hathaway. Miss Jane has never forgiven her sister for running away to elope, but for whatever reason, she decides

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.

The auther was only in her mid 20s when she wrote this, so of course the writing reflects her age as well as the times. I was surprised (and disappointed) however, when her heroine changed so quickly from a strong young woman into a "wife."

I liked it at first, but was so disappointed when (view spoiler)[Ruth gave up her job so easily (hide spoiler)]. One of the reasons I liked it at first, was because it was an early story about a woman with a job.

A bit like salty caramel ice cream- mostly sugar sweet but tinged with salt and all melts away in the end.
No doubt advanced for its time (1905) with the lead female character, Ruth, a working journalist, but she does allow herself to be persuaded by her dearly beloved that she should not go out to

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