SarahC's Reviews > The Making of a Marchioness

The Making of a Marchioness by Frances Hodgson Burnett
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Jan 22, 10

bookshelves: feelsomething, burnett

First published in 1901, Marchioness displays Burnett's ability to follow a non-heroine through events that may be dramatic but still interesting. You'll find an ever-innocent woman here who appreciates love and good fortune simply for what it is, but who dwells among those who are far from innocent.

Although from a genteel background, unmarried Emily Fox-Seton has been forced into the working world and largely exists as a lady's companion and secretary. She does live independently, however sparingly, in a small but comfortable boarding house. She is proud of her independence, but knows the future is bleak.

She is employed to assist an elderly society lady in entertaining her summer guests at a house in the country. It is hard work and, even though Emily enjoys spending her summer in the lovely house, she is heavily taken advantage of by her employer -- managing the details of most of the summer entertaining.

Emily's fortunes change for the better, but she still will face some troubling events before the novel's end. Burnett threads the dramatic story with a look at the characteristics of people. Her main character is not witty or direct. When a romantic interest occurs, it is unromantic. The immediate family members have huge faults and some live confused lives of unhappiness and envy.

In the her writings I have read, Burnett's settings are stately, beautiful, intriguing, and hold a touch of something that makes them exotic. However, she deals with characters and life very plainly. Forming a connection with her writing is not an uphill struggle, you find yourself simply there. No hype, no pretense, she seems so easily to have invited you in. There is always something unexpected to her writing also. With me, it is usually that I come to ask questions about people. The Marchioness brings to mind: do we always know when people are taking advantage of us? or, as the wise and all-knowing reader, what do we make of a story of a naive person dealing with her life?

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Reading Progress

01/21/2010 page 136
44.16% "Drawn in by Fanny Burnett, once again."
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