Laura McDonald's Reviews > Fraulein Schmidt And Mr Anstruther

Fraulein Schmidt And Mr Anstruther by Elizabeth von Arnim
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Feb 05, 2011

it was amazing
Read from February 05 to 13, 2011

Despite the horrid title, this is one of the loveliest books I've read. Really, Von Arnim (or her publisher) came up with some nice titles--The Enchanted April, The Solitary Summer--to name a couple. But they must have not put forth the effort on this one, which is a shame.

But the title is at least descriptive. It is an epistolary novel containing the correspondence from Fraulein Schmidt to Mr Anstruther. What makes it different from most other epistolary novels is that you read only the letters from one person, Fraulein Schmidt. Which is just as well, because you will immediately gather that Fraulein Schmidt's letters are some of the most beautiful pieces of prose recorded on paper while Mr Anstruther's letters must be much less worthy of praise.

Before reading this, I had decided that I didn't like Von Arnim's fiction as well as her autobiographical work. I was wrong. It is more her first person voice that I am in love with. I'm sure this novel contains items of autobiographical nature, however it is undoubtedly fiction. But what a joy! I can't recommend this one highly enough.

Be forewarned that there are some terribly frustrating parts, full of heartache and heartbreak. But in the end, one is happy to have felt it and lived through it and possibly even look back with gratitude after time as healed one's wounds, than to never have felt anything at all.

This should be just out at Gutenberg and soon out at Girlebooks--the text was a proofreading project I did with Marc at freeliterature.org.
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