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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

Mayor's story is solely an examination of Etta, a Victorian lady, an eternal daughter and sister, who yearns to define herself and live a fuller life, but does not know how. She is upper middle class, refined, critical, and unpleasant. She was raised by uninterested and uninteresting parents within

The story of a Victorian spinster. A surplus woman. A life unlived.

It doesn’t sound compelling, and yet it is: The Third Miss Symons set tied me up in knots.

Henrietta, known to her family as Etta, was a fifth child and a third daughter, and was to be followed by more children.

“A large family should

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

why was it that people did not love her? – she to whom love was so much that if she did not have it, nothing else in the world was worth having. she was not uglier or stupider or duller than anyone else... why had God sent her into the world if she were not wanted?

pain ❤️

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

A tale of the life of an unpleasant, boring Victorian woman. F. M. Mayor pulls off a miracle in making this unlikely premise into a very interesting book. Henrietta is pompous, bigoted, nasty, selfish and always misunderstood (at least she thinks she is - she is usually all well too understood.)

I fo

Rather a sad story, full of pathos, about a third daughter of a large family who just wants to be loved but, owing to several character flaws, isn't. It is set in Victorian times and looks at the place of such women in Victorian society.

4.5 stars
Flora Mayor was a remarkable woman; she read history at Cambridge in the early 1890s; a great achievement. She then became an actress before turning to literature. She wrote short stories and several novels, which were well regarded. She was a writer of ghost stories which were greatly admi

A short quick read. Well written, conveyed the unpleasant story of an unpleasant person. I didn't 'enjoy' it per say because it was quite depressing and left me feeling undone. But I think that gives credit to the author as she so thoroughly made Etta real to the reader that I think that was why it

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