The Making of a Marchioness
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The Making of a Marchioness (Emily Fox-Seton #1)

3.55 of 5 stars 3.55  ·  rating details  ·  581 ratings  ·  102 reviews
Many of the earliest books, particularly those dating back to the 1900s and before, are now extremely scarce and increasingly expensive. We are republishing these classic works in affordable, high quality, modern editions, using the original text and artwork.
Paperback, 190 pages
Published December 8th 2009 by Miller Press (first published 1901)
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Petra X aka Bubbles
Part one: sweet love story, the commoner gets the prince sort of thing, Kate and William.
Part two: embarrassingly bad Gothic horror rubbish.

Subtotal, a book that deteriorates considerably until it finally ended and I could breathe a sigh of relief from such a dreadful potboiler.

Bonus one: It is short.
Bonus two: It was made into a tv movie, "The Making of a lady" which also starts off good then ditto.

Total: Save your money and buy a box of Milk Tray, eat all the chocolates you like the best and t...more
Brenda Clough
A very Victorian/Edwardian style of fiction. Professionally speaking, I can spot the passive heroine, the contrived plot (everybody conveniently falling ill and then recovering at the right moment!), and the clumsy murder attempts, doomed to failure. Surely the heroine cannot be as dumb as she is depicted as being; it is significant that all the characters and the narrator assure the reader at least once every chapter that Emily is not stupid, because she sure acts that way. And is it deliberate...more
Karen
I loved this book (I actually read "Emily Fox-Seton," which is the two parts of the story in one--the second part was originally published separately as "The Methods of Lady Walderhurst."

The first part is a Cinderella-like story in which well-born but poor Emily is struggling to keep to a certain respectable standard of living in late-19th-century London. In addition to being a rather unconventional love story, we get some insight into the state of marriage at this time and the British class sys...more
astried
Another adult Burnett. I like the first part better, Emily looks such a nice, capable woman that could take care her own life, thank you very much. The romance (or the inexistence of it) was touching but not puke inducing. In the second part she seemed to be abandoning her self-reliance and became this adoring sugar sweet wife. I suppose this is real and valid thing to happen even now. It's so easy and comfortable to slip into it. I know I would gladly do it. It sounds as if I don't approve of s...more
Diane
Slight spoiler:


The Making of a Marchioness kind of reminds me of a fairy tale, a 19th century fairy tale. There is the handsome, nice, naive heroine, the wealthy male suitor, and the evil influences. I got a bit distracted with all the references to the goodness and the niceness of Emily and her general outlook on life (a bit too saccharine for my taste) but that aside it's a pleasant read for the most part and like a fairy tale, good triumphs over evil.
Amy
After catching the movie on late night PBS (titled "The Making of a Lady"), I was curious to read the book, to see if the rather silly mistakes that drive the plot are part of the original story. They are, indeed, although the character of the woman was somewhat changed in the movie. The tall, naive, straightforward Emily in the book is repeatedly described, with favor, as "stupid" and "big", just as Lord Walderhurst her husband is described as, "dull", and "beyond middle-aged" (he's mid-50s).

Th...more
Carol
The author of famous stories for children also wrote some books for adults, but the style is much the same, somewhat sentimental, very straight-forward and easy to read. Despite the almost unbelievable good nature of the 34-year-old heroine Emily, one admires her, and cheers for her, and laughs as, without trying, she "lands" the "catch" of the day, a titled lord, a childless widower, who, in his early 50's, wants a wife but doesn't want to have to cater to her. The ever-obliging and cheerful Em...more
Alice
I am shocked that I had never heard of this book until just a few weeks ago. (Thank you Aunt Gayle!) What a delightful read! Previously I had only read the author's books for children, and, like many people, I didn't even know about her novels for adults until now.

The book was originally published in two parts: the first is a "Cinderella Story" of sorts, and the second is a drama/suspense/romance. It's filled with interesting characters, and moments that will make you smile and/or sigh, bite yo...more
Cindy
I had no idea that the Author of "The Little Princess" and "Secret Garden" actually wrote more than this (well, correction. I knew about "Little Lord Fauntleroy" but never read it but saw some TV movie of it.) This book is WONDERFUL!! It has shades (maybe more than shades) of "Little Princess" but is for adults. The main character is one of those you know is too good to be real but makes you want to strive to be like her. I cried several times and was satisfied at that end. I will probably read...more
Marya DeVoto
I haven't read this since I was a teenager and while the idea of a perfectly open and naturally aristocratic nature raising a woman from genteel poverty to titled riches makes the first half fairly readable, the harping on Emily's perfect normality and confiding childlike nature really cloys. The thing one likes about Mary Lennox and Sara Crewe, in her childre's books, is that they are NOT perfect paragons. I would much rather have read a book about the semi-evil Anglo-Indian wife of the heir.

P...more
Jane
Like most people, I knew Frances Hodgson Burnett as the author of The Secret Garden and A Little Princess, two of my childhood favorites. Burnett was actually a prolific, popular, and crititcally well-received author for adults as well. I bought my copy of The Making of a Marchioness from Persephone Press, which has a wonderful shop in Bloomsbury. They publish neglected and out-of-print works of literature, primarily by women. This novel was well-worth the read and will please lovers of 19th cen...more
Cinkoe
Not my favorite of Frances Hodgson Burnett's novels for adults - some of those rival her children's classics - but it kept my interest. It is about a poor woman, of good family, who has to earn her own living in an era where there weren't many possibilities for a woman to do so. She is a kind person with an even temperament, who credits others with more kindness than deserved. She is invited to go to a house party in the country, where she is expected to work to keep the house party running &...more
Kaye
Story: 3.5 stars
Narrator: 4 stars

Yes, I'll freely admit that, even though I had this book on my shelf for years, I didn't make the decision to read (well, listen to) it until after watching The Making of a Lady on PBS a few weeks ago (and I've pre-ordered the DVD!). While the "gothic" elements of the story seemed odd in the movie, I have to admit, they're even odder in the book . . . because they're given so much less malice and true menace first by how they're written about (and in whose POV) a...more
Lisa
I'm inclined to say this book was pleasant, though nothing fabulous, except that the Victorian racism towards non-Europeans (in this case Indians) pervades the last third of the book and is troubling. Even without that, this is really just a very marginal book.
Laurele
A rather melodramatic period romance by the author of A Little Princess and The Secret Garden. I like her children's books better than her books for grown-ups, but this book kept my attention.
Melissa
I picked this up after seeing the movie version on PBS. The movie was great and had a Wilkie Collins-sort-of feel. The book - eh, not so much. The author seemed determined to make me dislike the main character, constantly describing her as naive, innocent, etc. She was a woman in her 30s who had lived on her own in London for years. How innocent could she really be? It was just unbelievable, and a part of me kind of sided with her enemies who were trying to kill her.

It's been a long time since I...more
Eline
This was a strange read to me. I enjoyed the first part, with Emily Fox-Seton being almost unnaturally kind, happy and thankful for everything while at the same time the author keeps telling us how she's rather naive and a little stupid etc. Combined with the many female characters, all of different background, each with their own personality that shows us the constricted role of women in the 19th century. Add the delightful deliberate sentimentality and you have a really pleasant read. However,...more
Cassandra
I read this a few years ago, so I do not remember it terribly well -- all right, four years ago, I think, right before my daughter was born. But what I do remember is that it is rather twee, in the way Hodgson Burnett is now known for (although I cannot say if The Secret Garden really is, it has been too long). There is the heroine, who is overlooked and unloved, and she (view spoiler)...more
Vera Marie
TV Version Better

TV Version Better

I read this after viewing "Making of a Lady" on PBS. The TV version is more fun. script writers took great liberties, but they had to in order to get any action. The book endlessly repeats character descriptions and action takes fourth place to manners, mansions and fashions. I do enjoy James' Aunt who could match wits with Grandmama in Downton Abbey, but most of the book is highly skimable.
Sandy
First published in 1901, The Making of a Marchioness follows thirty-something Emily who lives alone, humbly and happily, in a tiny apartment and on a meager income. She is the one that everyone counts on but no one goes out of their way to accommodate. This Cinderella-like story remains a much-loved favorite among many.

This was a really good book. I enjoyed it.
Sarah
In The Making of a Marchioness, Frances Hodgson Burnett combines two short novels, one a Cinderella story, and the other a family tale the edges over into the crime/thriller genre. The heroine, in both cases, Emily Fox-Seaton is a woman from a good family who was orphaned at an early age and faces life with little or no prospects. She is however, very sweet, grateful for any kindness and easily taken advantage of. Both plots revolve around these elements of her personality.

I enjoyed the book, bu...more
Sarah
This is an awfully cute period romance, with some dramatic undertones. Emily is a well-bred woman whose family died when she was a child, and who understood at an early age that she would have to work for her living. She hired herself out to upper-crust ladies to run errands, plan parties, and basically act as a genteel gopher while she just barely ekes by. With a permanently sunny disposition, paired with a practical nature and a pretty face, she catches the eye of her employer's cousin. After...more
Nancy
Mar 31, 2008 Nancy rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Burnett fans
Shelves: march-2008
Unbeknownst to me, Frances Hodgson Burnett, author of The Secret Garden, and Little Lord Fauntleroy (sp?), also wrote popular fiction for adults. She writes here about British social classes, a popular topic of the era (this was published in 1901). The story is about a down-on-her luck woman of great moral character and naive friendliness who makes her living as an assistant of various kinds to the nobility: finding servants, taking in sewing jobs, running errands, etc. She is invited to one of...more
Susan
Although not her most remembered work The Making of A Marchioness is perhaps Frances Hodgson Burnett's best work. Witty, stark, romantic and as one reviewer cited a galloping read. Emily Fox-Seton is a gentile spinster trying to make a living. She is both naive and smart. Recognizing that she could provide a service to her wealthy friends she becomes indispensable and in the process becomes a Marchioness.

If you are a Nancy Mitford fan you will remember the scene when Alfred proposes to Fanny and...more
Shelly
A fine little romance, when you take it in context and can tolerate melodrama. The most outstanding flaws: it bugged me that FHB used the word "ingenuous" at least twice in every chapter. Emily could have had more of a character arc, she got a little stale by the end.
Linda
I've read the first half of this twice but could not seem to get through the second part until now. While the story appears to be about a rather bland young woman whose life suddenly turns into a fairy tale, it's what FHB is saying in the background that is the real story. A lot of the commentary is about the limited possibilities for unmarried women and the likely destitution that is their lot in old age contrasted with the unhappiness of marriage to the wrong man. She doesn't mean a loveless m...more
Heather
I felt like this book needed fleshing out. Emily Fox-Seton's character seemed one-dimensional. Of the characters, I felt Lady Maria was the most interesting. I enjoyed reading about her and loved her honest admission of how she liked being catered to. :)
Rose
While it was fun to read, the plot is creaky and somewhat racist. I hardly ever think adaptations are better, but in this case, the TV adaptation was better and you get to see those gorgeous costumes. I do want to read the sequel, just to see where it goes.
Alex
Breezy sweetness at the beginning with a chipper heroine who narrowly avoids being overly Pollyanna-ish, I really did like her in the beginning. (I stopped liking her in the end, all the talk about her not being clever made me annoyed....as did the religious bits...& her sudden inability to do anything for herself after she had been so capable in the beginning of the book.)

This is a good book when you're feeling sad & blue, perhaps a tad under the weather, & it's raining. There's a c...more
April
This is a charming short story by the author who gave us The Secret Garden. I really liked it, but alas, it was too short. This can be read in an afternoon, or two. I'm glad I read it and I will keep it.
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Frances Eliza Hodgson was the daughter of ironmonger Edwin Hodgson, who died three years after her birth, and his wife Eliza Boond. She was educated at The Select Seminary for Young Ladies and Gentleman until the age of fifteen, at which point the family ironmongery, then being run by her mother, failed, and the family emigrated to Knoxville, Tennessee. Here Hodgson began to write, in order to sup...more
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