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

3.55  ·  Rating Details  ·  974 Ratings  ·  124 Reviews
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 book is followed by a sequel, The Methods of Lad
Paperback, 198 pages
Published June 5th 2001 by Adamant Media Corporation (first published January 1st 1901)
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Petra X
May 05, 2015 Petra X rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
Brenda Clough
Nov 15, 2011 Brenda Clough rated it it was ok
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
Francis Hodgson Burnett is best known for her children's books, including The Secret Garden and Little Lord Fauntleroy. Like those stories, The Making of a Marchioness explores the world of the British upper classes.

On one level this is a fairy story--set in Edwardian England, just about at the turn of the century. Cinderella reappears in the form of Emily Fox-Seton, a young woman of gentle birth and training, but nearly destitute. Emily, a spinster at thirty-five, cobbles together a slender li
Feb 27, 2014 Amy rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2014
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).

Jun 22, 2011 Karen rated it really liked it
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
Jul 19, 2010 astried rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010
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
Marya DeVoto
Apr 05, 2010 Marya DeVoto rated it it was ok
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.

Sep 26, 2012 Diane rated it liked it
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.
Jun 15, 2010 Carol rated it liked it
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
May 07, 2011 Alice rated it really liked it
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
Sep 13, 2013 Alex rated it liked it
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 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
Oct 05, 2012 Cindy rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 30, 2014 Stacey rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Entertaining read. Went back into the time between the late Victorian and Early Edwardian times in England. In the beginning I can relate to Emily a tad bit. Though when she got married off, I couldn't relate to her. Ms.Burnett did write Emily so well that I still want to pull for her and want her life be happy. I find it fascinating to find out a small part of her life has inspired this book into being. Poor Frances with two failed marriages even though she made enough to support herself as a w ...more
Mar 16, 2014 Cinkoe rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 14, 2010 Lisa rated it it was ok
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.
Laurel Hicks
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.
Mar 29, 2014 Melissa rated it liked it
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
G.A. Wilson
May 31, 2016 G.A. Wilson rated it liked it
Emily Fox-Seton is a well-bred but penniless woman who is employed as a personal assistant to Lady Maria Bayne. Sweet, well-intentioned and exceedingly helpful, Emily catches the eye of Lady Maria’s cousin, the Marquis of Walderhurst. Flouting the conventions of society, he marries lowly Emily, but soon afterwards travels to India on business. Emily is left behind to adapt to her challenging new role as marchioness, and to play hostess to the marquis’s cousin, Alec Osborn. This scheming rogue ha ...more
Jul 03, 2015 Sian rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 15, 2015 Connie rated it really liked it
I saw a BBC moive titled, "The Making of a Lady" which was just awesome! Then I discovered that it was based on a book by Frances Hodgson Burnett the author of The Little Princess and The Secret Garden, two of my favorite childhood books. So, I immediately found it on Amazon, downloaded it in one click and started reading.

The story was different, of course, from the movie. Really the movie had the bones of the plot, but mixed it around a great deal. I liked both for different reasons. The novel
Mar 14, 2011 Eline added it
Shelves: english
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
Jul 24, 2013 Cassandra rated it it was ok
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
Jan 21, 2016 Patrizia rated it really liked it
La stessa grazia fiabesca del 'Giardino segreto' e 'Sara Grewe' illumina questo romanzo: anzi, ho ritrovato un po' del vecchio Lord Fauntleroy nella 'educazione sentimentale' del marchese di Walderhust, frutto della generosa e spontanea dedizione di Emily Fox-Seton; sulla quale, se fossi una femminista militante, avrei avuto certo qualcosa da ridire.
Ma, per mia fortuna, non lo sono: e posso apprezzare senza preconcetti una buona storia, quando sono così fortunata da trovarne una.
Josefina Myrman
Jan 07, 2015 Josefina Myrman rated it really liked it
Shelves: läslista-2014
Kvinna vars mest framträdande karaktärsdrag är tacksamhet, brist på emotionellt djup och förnöjsamhet, vinner en 20 år äldre, självgod, kvinnoföraktande, men rik mans hjärta. Yay? Det första kapitlet var inte uppmuntrande.

Men sen utvecklas boken till en skarp bild av en edwardiansk äktenskapsmarknad som är chockerande cynisk, och djupt sorglig. Beskrivningen av hur kvinnor ska vara för att fånga en man, hur de ska spela perfekta får mig att tänka på Amy Dunnes monolog om ”The Cool Girl”.

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.
Josa Young
Jan 24, 2015 Josa Young rated it really liked it
Entertaining but not as good as her best. I reference this book in Sail Upon the Land as it was enduringly popular for years afterwards, and one of my characters uses it as a kind of guide to her own behaviour in the late thirties, as she isn't from that kind of background to aspires to be. And the television adaptation was a disappointment, please don't be guided by that if you choose to read this charming book. Edwardian comfort reading really.
Oct 04, 2014 Jann rated it really liked it
Wow. I thought this book would be sappy and formulaic. I was wrong. (Well, maybe a bit sappy, but it's not a bad thing). It was first published in 1901 and some social ideas might not please a modern reader, but the story was romantic and suspenseful, while giving an interesting view of women's lives at the turn of the century. It's also unusual that the romance part of the story is over before the story is half finished.
1st part - 3
2nd part - 1
Overall - 2

-shown customs of victorian Great Britain
- enjoyable first part

- common in that era: racism toward India's people
- spineless, brainless heroine, too stupid to live. She behave like teenager than woman of thirty four. I'm all for heroine, who isn't spirited, spunky cliche incarnation, but Emilie can't live on her own wihout somebody to guide her. Otherwise she is clueless.
- disappointing for Frances Hodgson Burnett's work.
Mar 04, 2014 Sandy rated it really liked it
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.
Oct 13, 2011 Sarah rated it liked it
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
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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
More about Frances Hodgson Burnett...

Other Books in the Series

Emily Fox-Seton (2 books)
  • The Methods of Lady Walderhurst

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“I am almost ashamed to answer,' she said. 'As I have said before, Emily
Fox-Seton has become the lodestar of my existence. I cannot live without
her. She has walked over to Maundell to make sure that we do not have a
dinner-party without fish to-night.'

'She has _walked_ over to Maundell,' said Lord Walderhurst--'after

'There was not a pair of wheels left in the stable,' answered Lady
Maria. 'It is disgraceful, of course, but she is a splendid walker, and
she said she was not too tired to do it. It is the kind of thing she
ought to be given the Victoria Cross for--saving one from a dinner-party
without fish.'

The Marquis of Walderhurst took up the cord of his monocle and fixed the
glass rigidly in his eye.

'It is not only four miles to Maundell,' he remarked, staring at the
table-cloth, not at Lady Maria, 'but it is four miles back.”
More quotes…