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The Rector's Daughter

3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  274 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
Dedmayne Rectory is quietly decaying, its striped chintz and darkened rooms a bastion of outmoded Victorian values. Here Mary has spent 35 years devoting herself to her sister, now dead, and to her father, Canon Jocelyn. Although she is pitied by her neighbors for this muted existence, Mary is content. But when she meets Robert Herbert, Mary's ease is destroyed and years o ...more
224 pages
Published February 8th 2001 by Penguin Books Ltd (first published 1924)
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Nov 01, 2013 Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another unexpected surprise by a relatively unknown female writer. I read the penguin modern classics edition; it is also published by virago.
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 admired by M R James (the greatest writer of ghost stories ever!). Agai
May 08, 2010 Cecily rated it really liked it
Bleak beauty: an exquisite study of pain, loss, misunderstandings and missed opportunities, all overridden by duty. A few aspects of the plot are a little contrived and I was never quite convinced by the character of Kathy, but the emotion is raw enough to justify these minor flaws.

Mary is in her mid 30s and living a lonely but useful life with her father (a canon in the Church of England) in a dull East Anglian village, between the wars. Her life is marked by loss from childhood onwards and she
Oct 10, 2010 Felice rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I discovered The Rector's Daughter while poking around on Virago's website. I like Virago. They only publish books written by women which is interesting but not what draws me to them. They publish two of my very favorite authors: Angela Carter and Sarah Waters and I am a huge fan of the Virago Modern Classics series. These are neglected, out of print books that Virago brings back into print. By re-issuing these titles Virago helps to broaden what books constitute The Classics. Don't think that I ...more
Feb 02, 2017 Rosemary rated it it was amazing
I found this a beautiful, evocative, brave and touching story. It's hard to say more without spoilers, but it's absolutely the sort of thing I love, being a woman's story of the 1920s. The generation gap between Mary in the 20th century and her father stuck in the 19th century made me wonder if there is a similar thing happening now, between the 20th and 21st centuries, but I don't think so. I think the big changes now are all about technology, not about attitudes. Changes in attitudes happen, b ...more
May 15, 2013 Anna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, feminism
This novel reminded me of something important: that it is a lot easier to write an engaging novel about someone(s) exceptional, with extraordinary talents and/or dropped into unusual circumstances. It takes considerably more literary skill to write a beautiful, fascinating novel about one ordinary person to whom very little happens. Many of the former type of book can be found everywhere. Mayor has managed the much rarer latter form with 'The Rector's Daughter', which recounts the life of Mary J ...more
Oct 15, 2015 Ali rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
No one could accuse F M Mayor of writing a cheerful story, but she certainly wrote a beautifully poignant one, and one I found very readable. I have been circling around this novel and The Third Miss Symons for some time, knowing already that there would be a degree of sadness to the stories of stagnant lives that Mayor appears to have particularly written about. I have Simon and Karen’s 1924 club to thank for giving me the nudge to read The Rector’s Daughter my first F M Mayor novel.

Flora M May
Nov 11, 2009 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mayor is the missing link between Jane Austen and Barbara Pym. Lovely book.
I feel almost guilty for not liking this book more.

The problem for me was not the story itself or the characters as such. I just found F.M. Mayor's style too dry and while she goes to great lengths to explain her personages' characters, motivations, thoughts and feelings she failed to convince me, especially in the case of Mr. Herbert who seems too much of a spineless, fickle, cold fish of a man to feel this great love for either of the women.
Feb 12, 2014 Rowizyx rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: da-biblioteche
Durante la lettura di questo libro, ho avuto spesso la sensazione che potesse essere un what if di due libri di Jane Austen, Emma e P&P. Cosa sarebbe successo se le due eroine in questione non avessero avuto abbastanza personalità da sostenere un buon rapporto con i loro ingombranti padri e se Darcy non si fosse mai scusato, o se Knightley non avesse mai confessato i suoi sentimenti ma si fosse invaghito di Jane Fairfax e l'avesse scippata a Churchill?

Il tema di questo libro è lo status di z
Feb 26, 2015 Simon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Neither of us can remember buying it, yet the book has a label declaring that it has been bought since second hand book shops went in for bar codes. (In other words within the last few years). One of us must have bought it and carefully placed it on the correct shelf. *My new year's resolution is only to read books already on the shelves (except for research) in an attempt to save a few pennies and to ensure I get a little closer to reading every book I own before I die. However it came to be on ...more
Aug 05, 2014 Lizzie marked it as to-read
This sounds great, and also a little like the story "A New England Nun": a rumble goes through a quiet, ordered adult life when a woman notices what she thinks of a man.
I'm getting a lot of great to-reads from the book list 500 Great Books By Women, which got set up as a Goodreads group. There are cool demographics in the list, and I've been tracking them in my reading with a spreadsheet (and so can yoouuu).
Nov 21, 2011 Elaine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Heartrending and heartfelt tale of Mary Jocelyn motherless daughter of the Rector who lives her lonely unfulfilled life in a small country village. She is intimidated into self effacement and self deprecation by her father's insensitivity. As the years go by her hopes for happiness begin to dim until a new curate appears. He appears to be a source for providing the love that is so desperately missing from Mary's life. How this plays out for Mary and the people around her is deftly, sympathetical ...more
Diane Barnes
Dec 27, 2011 Diane Barnes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those books set in an inconsequential english village with inconsequential characters who live dull, prosaic lives. All of the action takes place in the thoughts and emotions of the Rector's daughter and the people she knows and loves. But what a rich, beautiful book! You will remember these people and their lives long after you turn the last page.
Sep 18, 2011 Zoe rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Small unassuming book from the outside but a powerful and beautiful book about doomed, unvoiced love and opportunities wasted. Sounds depressing and the story is a little sad - particularly as "middle age" is apparently 36! But I really liked the writing and found it surprisingly enjoyable. A real lost treasure.
Feb 26, 2014 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
This seems to me an unusually fine novel. It is deeply felt, and of the highest sentiments. I was surprised at every turn by new revelations about the characters, and moved by the depiction of their struggles and joys.
Jan 01, 2011 Julie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Described on the cover as a lost classic. I'd agree. This is a fabulous book, understated like its heroine.

There is something about the language used by authors writing between the wars that I really enjoy.
Jun 30, 2010 Laura rated it liked it
The BBC called this a ‘neglected classic.’ There is a great sense of sadness and loss running through the whole story, but it is beautifully written.
Jul 21, 2011 Kathy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful - and heartbreaking. A lovely book expressing the depth of human emotions, this is a lost classic that should be more widely read.
Sophie Wainwright
A truly elegant novel told in beautiful elegaic prose. Quiet and gentle in style but in amidst this old-fashioned restraint Mayor weaves a deep, dark and powerful love story.
Sophia Roberts
Apr 02, 2011 Sophia Roberts rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got a lot of out this touching story that - despite the plot weaknesses - deals honestly with the ennui that could be an unmarried woman's lot in the early twentieth century.
Jane Massy
Jan 26, 2014 Jane Massy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although it has references to class and race of its time which feel very uncomfortable, this is a deeply moving story which deserves a wide readership.
Considered a 'neglected classic' it's meaningful but understated. Another novel demonstrating the inferior/subordinate role women have played to fathers and husbands.
Sep 20, 2012 Katya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
a neglected classic
Carey Combe
Beautifully observed but just too depressing for me...
James Askari
May 31, 2016 James Askari rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A masterpiece of style, insight and tact. Mary Jocelyn is the daughter of a Canon who stands head and shoulders intellectually above the village, not two miles from London, where he has his church. A man of great acuity and probity, he chills her early literary efforts. After her mother's early death, she spends an outwardly loveless existence tending to a remaining invalid sister. She has the love of her life when the son of a Cambridge classmate of her father's--at university handsome and supe ...more
Jun 30, 2010 Bettie☯ rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Book at Bedtime Listeners
Recommended to Bettie☯ by: Laura
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 23, 2010 Laura rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bettie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Casey (The Bookish Type)
Apr 03, 2010 Casey (The Bookish Type) rated it really liked it
Excerpt: Mary Jocelyn's life is not what one would call exciting by any standard. In The Rector's Daughter by F.M. Mayor, Mary lives a quiet country life caring for her disabled sister and aging father, the county rector. Canon Jocelyn was a handsome man in his day, not to mention brilliant, and still retains vestiges of his younger appearance and every shred of his mental faculties. Mary, on the other hand, has always been plain. As a middle-aged spinster, this is more true than ever. She did i ...more
Aug 24, 2016 Isabel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure why I started this book (maybe a break from Trollope). I wouldn't normally be attracted to it cos there are so many books now with the title 'The (insert descriptive here) Daughter/Wife'. I was quite surprised to find it was actually written in 1924 by a woman who, apparently, lived a life not unlike the heroine in her book.
Poor Mary Jocelyn lived with her father (the rector) in a small, dull town in England. Her father is cold, distant, and a literature/language/and grammar snob. S
Apr 16, 2011 Iva rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another clergyman's suffering daughter reminiscent of Barbara Pym or Anita Brookner. This daughter is saddened by the loss of her dear sister and gets no comfort from her father. A brief hope at romance colors the plot. Richly drawn characters populate a quiet backwater in early 20th century England. This is a surprisingly fresh read. Susan Hill mentions it as one of her favorite books in "Howard's End is on the Landing". Worth seeking out.
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aka Mary Strafford

Flora Macdonald Mayor was an English novelist and short story writer who published under the name F. M. Mayor.

Mayor's father, Joseph Bickersteth Mayor (1828-1916), was an Anglican clergyman and professor of classics and then of moral philosophy at King's College London; her mother, Alexandrina Jessie Grote (1830-1927),[1:] was niece of the utilitarian George Grote as well as the
More about F.M. Mayor...

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