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The Clever Woman of the Family

3.52 of 5 stars 3.52  ·  rating details  ·  60 ratings  ·  10 reviews
The Clever Woman of the Family is a new woman novel that focuses on a group of women in a small seaside community. It is the early 1860s and British women outnumber men to such an extent that not all women can expect to marry. Rachel Curtis, the clever woman of the title, is an opinionated young woman whose yearning for a mission in life leads to tragicomic results.
Paperback, 601 pages
Published September 17th 2001 by Broadview Press (first published 1865)
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Diane Wilkes
I read this book at least once a year. Sure it's old-fashioned beyond words--no matter how clever a woman is, she needs be guided by a man...and "Jew" is used as a perjorative.

But Rachel is one of my favorite protagonists in all literature. Strong-minded, altruistic, and completely tactless, even her faith in God has been shaken from so much questioning and reading...she is such a Sagittarius.

I identify with her a lot.

I'm sure I'll read this again before the year is out. I have it on my iPad
A workhorse of a novel from one of the great domestic novelists of the nineteenth century. Not likely to appeal to contemporary readers at all.
One of her longer books and so a bit wordy. I do enjoy her recounting of the time period when the British raj held India. This story has a widow returning with her children and their trials in reconnecting with the British way of life. Another character with good intentions is conned into providing funds for a non-existent trade school for girls.
Marilyn Saul
Wanted to try to make it through 1/3 of this book, as other reviewers said it picked up from there, but just couldn't do it. I didn't like any of the characters, even the clever woman, who was dogmatic and preachy. Anyway, I quit and sent onto something less boring.
I am rre-reading this very funny book for my graduate seminar. Charlotte Yonge is an anti-feminist in many ways, but she shows how women effectively run the world from behind the scenes. What I like about this book is its satirical account of a woman magazine editor and activist. It also features a character who seems to get pregnant because she trips while playing croquet!
The back of this book calls it "fascinating, is infuriating," and that is about par for the course. Parts of it were highly enjoyable and amusing but in the beginning it is terribly confusing and the last half feels really didactic. All in all, I am glad to have read it, but I never want to read it again. LOL.
Although it takes the novel a while to start going and you can do nothing but get severely annoyed with the protagonist (Rachel), the novel picks up pace later on and you actually start to feel close to the characters. So much so that you hope that each of them gets their happy ending.
This is a complex set of love stories as well as a parable about intellectualism without emotional knowledge.
It was really tough getting into, but after the first third of the book, I really enjoyed it.
Read for 19th Cent Brit Lit. Ugh. Rather wretched.
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Charlotte Mary Yonge was an English novelist, known for her huge output, now mostly out of print.

She began writing in 1848, and published during her long life about 160 works, chiefly novels. Her first commercial success, The Heir of Redclyffe (1853), provided the funding to enable the schooner Southern Cross to be put into service on behalf of George Selwyn. Similar charitable works were done wit
More about Charlotte Mary Yonge...
The Little Duke The Daisy Chain, Or, Aspirations: A Family Chronicle The Heir Of Redclyffe Grisly Grisell Unknown to History: The Captivity of Mary of Scotland

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