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Lady Rose and Mrs. Memmary
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Lady Rose and Mrs. Memmary

3.84  ·  Rating Details ·  188 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
The Countess of Lochlule marries Sir Hector, owner of the estate next to 'Keepsfield', the palatial Scottish mansion where she lives. But one day she meets someone on a park bench in Edinburgh. This novel is about dreams and the hard world of money and position and their relations to one another.
Paperback, 223 pages
Published November 8th 2004 by Persephone Books (first published 1937)
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Apr 30, 2015 Jane rated it it was amazing
Shelves: persephone-books
Oh, this is lovely.

It begins with three people, an English couple and an American friend, on holiday in the Scottish Highlands. They see a sign, on grand wrought-iron gates, advertising a magnificent residence to be let. They are intrigued and the gatekeeper invites them to look more closely, assuring them that the housekeeper, Mrs Memmary would be only too pleased to show off the house.

“He unfastened a side-gate and they ran their car along a mile of carriage-drive, through a plantation where r
Jun 02, 2015 Mirte rated it really liked it
Persephone describes this novel as a "love letter to Scotland", and as I will be studying in Scotland next year, I figured it'd be a nice start. It's one of those books that, despite sometimes slightly too obviously praising Scotland and juxtaposing Edinburgh and London, give you a fuzzy feeling and a longing to see the places so vividly described in these pages.

The narrative jumps back and forth between different stages of Lady Rose's life, and the housekeeper telling a visiting guest little st
Oct 10, 2012 Kirsty rated it it was amazing
Shelves: persephone-books

I just adored this book. I can see it wouldn't be to everyone's taste, but it could have been written especially for me.

Three people go to see a stately home, in the days when you could just turn up and ask to see round. The caretaker shows them around and tells them about Lady Rose, the last Countess. Then the narration jumps back in time to describe more fully what happened.

I loved it - I'm a romantic, love Scotland and grew up in Scotland, love Scottish grand houses (not that I've lived in
May 09, 2012 Karen rated it liked it
This is an unusual book; it has a rather dream-like quality, as it goes back and forth in time between the "present" (actually the mid-1930s) and the past of the mid-1800s. It tells the story of Lady Rose, who is a very privileged child of the Scottish nobility, and how her life evolves. There's a bit of a mystery (although I figured it out pretty quickly) and wonderful descriptions of Rose's magnificent home, Keepsfield.

The book is written in a style that some might find overwrought; I thought
Charlotte Jones
Sep 02, 2015 Charlotte Jones rated it really liked it
Lady Rose and Mrs Memmary is a love letter to Scotland. Ruby Ferguson's writing style evokes the atmosphere of a fairy tale whilst talking about characters that are wholly realistic. Keepfields, the house in which Lady Rose grows up, and the landscape around it becomes a character in its own right and is so much a part of the characters' lives that it is impossible to imagine this book set anywhere else.

With charming illustrations and feminist themes, this is definitely a classic that more peopl
Jun 06, 2012 Hol added it
A Persephone newsletter recommended this for Jubilee reading (it was a favorite of the Queen Mum), and lo and behold, I came across it at the library the very next day. For me, the flowery prose and histrionic emotion made it tough going, and I never felt much for our wee Scottish heroine, the Lady Rose, Countess of Lochlule. But there were two aspects I found interesting: 1) the contrast of colorful, romantic Scotland with pale, limp England; 2) the sometimes funny critique of high aristocracy ...more
Mar 01, 2009 Ali rated it really liked it
This was perfect reading for a quiet Sunday afternoon. Persephone 53 is a charming grown up fairy tale. Lady Rose is a romantic, and she carries that romantism all her life, and it is this which shapes her destiny. This simple little novel also highlights quite tragically how inflexible and unforgiving was Victorian high society. This is also a novel about Scotland, Lady Rose is a proud and patriotoc Scot - and the novel allows us a teasing glimpse of some of the beauties of Scotland before the ...more
Beth Bonini
Nov 03, 2016 Beth Bonini rated it really liked it
Sometimes the introduction (or foreword) to a book is a pointless bore, but it can also illuminate a book in a particular way that makes the reading experience more enjoyable. Candia McWilliam provides the foreword to this one and I highly recommend that you read it first, as it does set you up for what you will find in this charming, fairy-tale like book. As she warns, it is "high in sugar" - but compelling, too. First published in 1937, as the country was still mired in depression and events ...more
Rebecca Shipley
Jan 17, 2016 Rebecca Shipley rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 24, 2011 Lesley added it
Meh. Spotted the twist coming very early on. And for searing indictment of Victorian upper-class marriage market and conventions of appropriate behaviour, E M Delafield is so much better (and more cynical about All For Love, too).
Aug 01, 2013 Lucy rated it it was amazing
This was my first Persephone book! I found the character of Rose extremely likeable, even if she was ever so slightly precocious as a child. I found myself not wanting to put this book down, and although I guessed the small twist from the off, it didn’t take anything away from my enjoyment of the story at all. There were also several points where I laughed out loud, “…marriage with the right kind of man will soon take the romance out of [romantic girls]” on page 118 for instance.

It makes a chan
Apr 22, 2016 Pascale rated it liked it
I agree with everything Candia McWilliam writes in her introduction: yes this book comes close to being too saccharine, but yes it repays reading if you get to the end. And yes, it will stir up nostalgia for Scotland in anyone who has ever lived there. That said, if I had guessed who Mrs Memmary was before the big revelation, I probably would have found the book flatter. But then again, I didn't, so why speculate? I guess it was rather daring on the part of Ferguson in 1937 to exonerate Lady ...more
Feb 15, 2013 Rosemary rated it really liked it
Shelves: persephone
Set in Scotland, the narrative shifts between the 1930s and the 1870s-80s, with an old lady called Mrs Memmary telling the story of Lady Rose Targenet to some casual visitors to the Targenet family home, now long vacant. Lady Rose shocked Scottish society in her day by giving up everything for a penniless man that she loved.

The story is told well enough, but the characters are not very original. It was the evocation of life in 19th-century Scotland and the description of the Fife countryside th
Dec 03, 2008 Susann rated it it was ok
Shelves: persephone
Not one of my favorite Persephone books. It was all too precious. Even the Bad Event that happened was precious. The characters, especially Rose, were stock. The Persephone sellers say that this was a great favorite of the Queen Mother, so now I know not to follow any of her literary suggestions. I did enjoy the Scottish element, though. And the plot moved along nicely.
May 31, 2012 Kathy rated it liked it
The switching between past a present times was a little odd when I first started reading the book, but the transitions become smoother as the story goes along. I wasn't very into the story until halfway through when it completely captured me. I especially enjoyed reading about the landscapes of Scotland and how the city of Edinburgh looked during the 30s.
Persephone Press books are lovely to see! The end papers are carefully selected, usually decades old textile images and the covers are heavy papers, almost card stock, and solid colors. This press re-publishers books written by women in Britain. Each year more titles are added. I wish I could afford to have each new title mailed to me from London!
Janice White
May 06, 2013 Janice White rated it it was amazing
This was a charming book. So glad that Persephone decided to publish it. It is a very gentle story of It is set in Scotland and is the story of Lady Rose Targenet, who marries a man who owns an estate in Scotland,where they live in a palatial mansion. One day she meets a man on a park bench and her life changes forever.
Linda K
Aug 02, 2013 Linda K rated it really liked it
A magical, enchanting tale with a rather tragical ending. Brings to life a part of 1800s historical England..............Queen Victoria, ladies in waiting, wealthy land owners and Lady Rose, the center of it all.
Sep 19, 2015 Lindsey rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This underrated classic is a stunning, enchanting love letter to Scotland and I simply ADORED it. The writing was so gorgeous and fairytale-esque that I often found myself re-reading paragraphs. I can't wait to read this again and tab all my favorite sections.
Aug 17, 2014 Maire rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club
A book that makes you feel like you've been transported back in time! I loved the characters, the story, and the framing device used here. There was a romance in the book that felt a bit odd and forced, and I never fully understood the main character's final motivations.
Carol Eshaghy
Mar 05, 2013 Carol Eshaghy rated it it was amazing
I think this will become one of my favorite books. First published in 1937, this charming story was a favorite of the queen.
Jul 27, 2015 Amanda rated it really liked it
Shelves: scottish
A lovely litter novel about one romantic life and her love of Scotland. Was especially fun to read after my visit to Edinburgh.
Mar 22, 2013 Julie rated it really liked it
4 1/2. Not for everyone, but totally charming. Almost a fairy tale- and odd little Britsh novella. Very dated, but I loved it.
Toni White
Toni White rated it really liked it
Apr 09, 2013
Ayreon rated it really liked it
Jun 20, 2015
AMMAR rated it really liked it
Apr 15, 2016
Rosie rated it really liked it
Oct 29, 2015
Bilbo rated it did not like it
Nov 09, 2011
Jennifer rated it really liked it
Aug 18, 2008
Ngarie rated it it was ok
Jun 17, 2016
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