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The Benefactress

3.79  ·  Rating Details  ·  109 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
This is a pre-1923 historical reproduction that was curated for quality. Quality assurance was conducted on each of these books in an attempt to remove books with imperfections introduced by the digitization process. Though we have made best efforts - the books may have occasional errors that do not impede the reading experience. We believe this work is culturally importan ...more
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Published by Project Gutenberg (first published 1901)
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Community Reviews

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Z Coonen
May 12, 2015 Z Coonen rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook, uk-authors
Excellent character development to the point that I ached for the heroine's naïveté, felt angry with the entrenched older women, and hoped the princess would be more involved. In other words, I was drawn into the story - despite the fact that Anna's fatal flaw was so painful to watch.

All of the German culture and such was overwhelming. Was it an instructive lesson for readers as well? It certainly did not make Germany appealing compared to England.

Listening to the book on Librivox read by Hele
...more
Eliza
Jun 30, 2013 Eliza rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: so-british
À dix-huit ans, Anna Estcourt semblait promise au plus bel avenir. Élevée par un frère qu’elle adore depuis la mort de leurs parents, sir Peter, elle est introduite en société par sa belle-sœur Susie, qui ne ménage pas ses efforts pour en faire une femme accomplie et susciter les propositions de beaux partis londoniens. Mais Anna, pourtant charmante de visage et de manières, repousse toutes les offres qui lui sont faites. Et là voilà désormais âgée de vingt-cinq ans, déjà lasse des bals et des r ...more
Giselle Bradley
3.5 I absolutely adore the writing. I'd say if you're a fan of Elizabeth to read this book but if you haven't read her yet I suggest starting with The Enchanted April. This book was beautiful at the beginning but the second half was extremely dramatic and unbelievable. All the characters were flawed which I really enjoyed. And I thought the character growth was pretty good until the end when some things just seemed too rushed. The story is a 3 star for me and the writing is a 5 star.
Tintaglia
Mar 14, 2012 Tintaglia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, classics
Quando un libro è perfetto dalla prima all'ultima riga bisogna gridarlo ai quattro venti.
E questo è il caso. MERAVIGLIOSO.
Anita
Jan 28, 2015 Anita rated it really liked it
Shelves: classicfiction
What a surprising classic gem.
In what seems to be a lost literary treasure, this 1901 novel of manners could almost have been written a century earlier, with its recounting of social conventions and the circumscribed lives of women. For the most part, the book has the same fresh approach to these social mores as any Austen novel, told with similar gentle humor and seen with devastating clarity. Unlike Austen, though, von Arnim seems to run out of steam, dropping her intriguing characters abruptl
...more
Angela
Oct 06, 2015 Angela rated it really liked it
I thought the book was full of wonderful character details. I loved seeing the story unfold from the perspective of several characters. I could picture the neighborhood, if you could call it that, and all the characters in play. I truly enjoyed how Anna grew from the stubborn young woman who longed for her own freedom to the lovely woman who had learned to love and yet balance her freedom in a time when women had very few privileges and rarely any land holdings.
Luciabo
Oct 08, 2012 Luciabo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romanzo
E' un romanzo molto ironico, come quasi tutti gli scritti della Von Arnim, con un’idea di fondo molto originale e con un tema molto importante, soprattutto se visto al tempo in cui il libro fu pubblicato, il 1901: il giusto desiderio di indipendenza delle donne in una società molto maschilista. La protagonista, una giovane ragazza orfana e senza mezzi, sogna di essere una donna indipendente, allontanandosi dalla casa della ricca cognata, in cui è ospite mal gradita, che spera solo di trovarle un ...more
M
Feb 08, 2015 M rated it did not like it

A woman wants to be independent, and when she inherits the means, she wants to use her small wealth to help others.

However, 396 pages in, the main character shows her true colours:
"I always thought it would be so glorious to be independent," said Anna, "and now somehow it isn't. It is tiring.I want someone to tell me what I ought to do and then to see that I do it."

At this point, her future becomes certain. She will give up her schemes of philanthropy --and marry. Dreadful.
(P)Ila
Jun 15, 2015 (P)Ila rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Il primo incontro con la von Arnim era stata una bella sorpresa ma la bellezza di questo romanzo ha superato tutte le mie aspettative, tanto da poter dire con certezza che l'autrice australiana si guadagna un posto tra le scrittrici che apprezzo particolarmente!

Elizabeth von Arnim possiede arguzia, intelligenza, brillantezza ed eleganza e quella che dalla trama potrebbe essere una storia semplice in realtà è molto di più: la vicenda è coinvolgente, a tratti diverte con siparietti al limite dell'
...more
Kathie
Mar 09, 2016 Kathie rated it really liked it
At age twenty-five attractive Anna Estcourt, having grown up without parents and without money, is still living with her brother, Peter and his domineering wife, Susie. However, Anna is beautiful, intelligent, independent, and idealistic.

While Peter and Anna’s German uncle visits, he and Anna form a friendship. He sympathizes with Anna and her patient endurance with her overbearing sister-in-law, Susie. A few months later Uncle Joachim dies and leaves his estate in Northern Germany and the resp
...more
Diane Challenor
The moral of this story, or should I say the philosophy of this story is so profound. Sure the style is a bit dated, sure it's a bit wordy in places but it's an interesting premise and will keep you turning the pages to see what happens to the heroine and her philanthropic endeavors.
Erica
Mar 15, 2010 Erica rated it liked it
Not one of my favorites by Elizabeth von Arnim...the story is a little bit like a bad sitcom with too many cliched misunderstandings. And the heroine's foolishness annoyed me, but the author's writing is light and amusing as always.
Colleen
May 18, 2016 Colleen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great read for fans of Jane Austen. I enjoyed the German influence, which is yet another side of the English experience. The well-crafted sentences were a descriptive delight to read as well as offering classic examples of English's humour.

Great read for fans of Jane Austen. I enjoyed the German influence, which is yet another part of the English experience. The well crafted sentences were a descriptive delight to read as well as offering classic examples of English humour.
Patrizia
Jan 18, 2016 Patrizia rated it really liked it
Amo molto la scrittura elegante di Elizabeth von Arnim, e considero questo il migliore tra i suoi romanzi letti finora. La narrazione sognante si affianca stavolta a un 'plot' coinvolgente; l'utopia si intreccia con la realtà; la giovane, idealista Anna rinuncia alla totale indipendenza e trova una nuova dimensione femminile…
Vickimouse61
Not my favourite

After reading Vera, which I loved, I found the benefactress quite tedious. This book has a happy ending, but the naivety of the heroine is painful. So many petty people - it seems unbelievably dramatic. Still, our heroine has good character development and we are happy to get to the end and believe that all is going to be well. I am so relieved!
Jane
Mar 18, 2015 Jane rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio
I liked this more than I liked the movie of The Enchanted April. In addition, the librivox recording is superlative. The story wraps up extremely quickly; I would have enjoyed a longer chuckle at the unfortunate ladies of the house.
Adam Prat
Sep 03, 2015 Adam Prat rated it it was ok
I enjoyed the the book very much but what ruined it was the ending. I understand that is introspection on feminist ideals from the 19th century but the ending seems incredibly rushed and well really ruined the entire book for me.
Robbi Freeman
Nov 25, 2014 Robbi Freeman rated it did not like it
The book was really slow until the very end and the lessons were silly for this day and age now. I'm sure it was a fine book in its time.
Tamara Leigh
Jul 04, 2011 Tamara Leigh rated it it was ok
I believe I would have enjoyed The Benefactress more if not for having read Elizabeth von Arnim's Enchanted April first. The Benefactress is well written (though overly detailed) and the author is adept at character development, but the story didn't rise anywhere near the level of Enchanted April. I SO wanted to experience the magic of Enchanted April again. I do intend to read more of von Arnim's books in the hope her writing can do again what Enchanted April did for me.
Francesca
Dec 23, 2015 Francesca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5-4/5

Come per il precedente, il romanzo è ben scritto e uno dei suoi pregi che caratterizzano la Von Arnim è la ricerca psicologica dei suoi personaggi principali, in particolare legata al contesto sociale.
Questa storia non mi ha fatto impazzire, soprattutto perché non sopportavo la protagonista, Anna, e per il finale che mi ha lasciato un po’ perplessa.
Daniela Mastropasqua
Ho letto già molte opere di quest'autrice e quando ho trovato questo, che non conoscevo, in libreria, l'ho comprato quasi senza pensarci. Sicura di una piacevole e interessante lettura. Ma nulla... la storia non è riuscita a coinvolgermi praticamente mai, i personaggi nemmeno (li dimenticherò in fretta) e per lo più l'ho trovato noioso... :(
Beth
May 17, 2013 Beth rated it really liked it
An adorable story, I loved it until the end, and only hold back highest praise because the end was so abrupt. I have noticed this tendency in von Arnim - occasionally she seems to suddenly lose interest in her story and simply end it without a comfortable winding-down. Otherwise, it was very delightful.
Maria Vieira
Apr 17, 2015 Maria Vieira rated it liked it
I love the book, but I expected a different ending.
Natalie
Natalie rated it really liked it
May 16, 2016
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2098
Elizabeth, Countess Russell, was a British novelist and, through marriage, a member of the German nobility, known as Mary Annette Gräfin von Arnim.

Born Mary Annette Beauchamp in New Zealand while her family resided in Sydney, Australia, she was raised in England and in 1891 married Count Henning August von Arnim, a Prussian aristocrat, and the great-great-great-grandson of King Friedrich Wilhelm I
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