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The Third Miss Symons

F. M. Mayor

Book Overview: 

Miss Mayor tells this story with singular skill, more by contrast than by drama, bringing her chief character into relief against her world, as it passes in swift procession. Her tale is in a form becoming common among our best writers; it is compressed into a space about a third as long as the ordinary novel, yet form and manner are so closely suited that all is told and nothing seems slightly done, or worked with too rapid a hand.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .re probably would have been, but they would have been as happy as the majority of married couples; she would have been happier, for to many people, even to some women, it is not, as it was to her, the all-sufficing condition of existence to love and be loved.

At the end of the month Louie came home. Henrietta had dreaded her return. She had no confidence in herself when Louie was by. Louie made her cold and awkward. She would have liked to have asked her not to come into the room when he called, but she was too shy; there had never been any intimacy between the sisters. Mrs. Symons however, spoke to Louie. "A very nice young fellow, with perfectly good connections, not making much yet, but sufficient for a start. It would do very well."

Louie would not have considered herself[23] more heartless than other people, but she was a coquette, and she did not want Henrietta to be settled before her. The next time the young man came, he found in the drawing-roo. . . Read More

Community Reviews

A novella about a woman who is neither charming nor beautiful, whose temper alienates her from her large Victorian family, and who watches as her life passes her by.

Full review at Another Look Book

Reminded me of:
- Frances Hodgson Burnett (Emily Fox-Seton, aka A Lady of Quality/The Making of a Marchi

This book reminded me of The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne (Brian Moore) ...which I read 20 years ago and stuck with me because it was so frigging sad.

This was not as sad, but still not a bowlful of cherries. (view spoiler)[ About the life of a person who was unloved as a child, unloved and unwanted during her t (hide spoiler)]

Whilst a rather depressing read, it was fascinating to see Mayor's interpretation of unmarried women in the Victorian age.
Henrietta Symons is the 3rd daughter of a large family. She is mean, uninteresting and unloveable. Her family do not like or respect her, no man wants to commit to her, and she

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