Surreysmum's Reviews > Woman's Friendship a Story of Domestic Life

Woman's Friendship a Story of Domestic Life by Grace Aguilar
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's review
Oct 31, 2011

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bookshelves: 2011, general-fiction, library
Read in October, 2011

This one of several novels posthumously published by Grace Aguilar's mother. It displays nothing of Aguilar's passionate Jewish side (other than a few moral passages referring to a benevolent paternal God, which could be, and no doubt were, assumed by the majority of her readers to refer to Christianity). Aguilar is an engaging storyteller, so even if her plot device - mysterious circumstances of birth leading to a near escape from an incestuous marriage - is hoary and easily penetrated, I enjoyed her handling of it. Trapped though they are in rather irritating Victorian social roles, her principal characters, especially the female ones, do exhibit actual human patterns of behaviour, and likeable ones at that. And, true to her title, Aguilar makes sure that her heroine, Florence Leslie, escapes from the awful effects of Victorian female vulnerability through the efforts of her woman friend, Lady Ida St. Maur, but only after she is subjected to that most dreadful of fates, the undeserved loss of reputation. (The agent of that loss of reputation, an evil cousin with a nearly identical name, is the weakest point in the plotting of this novel). It's easy to be smug a century and a half after the fact, but I do find these women's novels, which are essentially guide-books from one woman to another about negotiating the perils of women's social role in early Victorian England, to have a certain interest.

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