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Archived Group Reads 2012 > No Name 2012 Scene the Last (eigth)

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message 1: by V.r. (last edited May 22, 2012 06:05AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

V.r. Christensen (VRChristensen) "He only saw me once," she said, "and he only saw me some time ago. How came he to remember me when he found me here?"
"Aha!" said the captain. "Now you have hit the right nail on the head at last. You can't possibly be more surprised at his remembering you than I am. A word of advice, my dear. When you are well enough to get up and see Mr. Kirke, try how that sharp question of yours sounds in his ears, and insist on his answering it himself."

Marialyce Well Collins did it. He wrapped it all up and ended it so happily for all.....well except Frank who is married to someone the age of his grandmother. Fitting....

Loved this book. It was a page turner from the get go. Collins is/was a force to be reckoned with in Victorian times. Would love to see this become a movie or TV series.

V.r. Christensen (VRChristensen) Becky, as it turns out, was totally right. Frank is worthless. I'm glad to know what came of him, but what a tosser. What a tosser!

Kirke played the heroes part really well. I did not know if he would play it for himself or on the part of Frank though until this scene. What a man! Ha ha. He sure puts Noel and Frank to shame. I thought the last scenes very touching and was glad to see everything get tied up.

I too thought this would make a great movie. It'd be long, but it'd be good.

Julia Bluff | 8 comments I enjoyed the read too. I do admit to a little frustration with Magdalen. I mean, nothing she does works out . . . ever, but she still keeps plugging away at her lost cause. I was relieved that she didn't end up dead at the end of the book. Victorian literature tends to be a little unforgiving of women who compromise their virtue (I'm looking at you, Dickens!). So, there was a big sigh of relief when she woke up from her illness, and a big sigh of relief that she was restored to her position.

I totally wish there had been more of the Wragges at the end, though. They were so much fun. I love Wragge's new, more honorable position in life as a snakeoil salesman.

I have a little quibble though: I think Magdalen ripping up the check was a little disingenuous. I mean, was there really any risk of not getting the money she'd been after for two years once Nora had control of it? Accepting the money from Nora instead of the lost codicil felt pretty much like semantics to me. I think Magdalen was lying to herself a little bit in that last moment there. Throwing the check out the window seemed to me like a way to feel more honorable after the fact. . .to remove a little bit of the stain of her misdeeds throughout the book.

But I'm not trying to be too hard on Magdalen. She was dealt a horrible hand by a society that left her without any money, any "honorable" options, and even without any name to call her own. She actively fought back the only way she could. And it makes sense that her actions weren't condoned by the society that cast her out of it. What else was there to do? Just wait patiently and passively for a random string of happenstance to restore her birthright like Nora did?

Despite hundreds of pages of bad decisions, I still prefer Magdalen to Nora. Magdalen's got spirit.

V.r. Christensen (VRChristensen) Another good point. I wonder what kind of conversations went on between Dickens and Collins as regarded women and the female characters they created. I wonder how many of our stereotypes of Victorian women come from Dickens, as the preeminent Victorian author. Because there were others, like our friend Collins, who was far more forgiving of women, even a champion of them in my opinion. Strong women are not foreign to Victorian literature, it's just that the authors who have lasted in popularity tend to be the ones who write of women in the way most understand them, weak, docile, subserviant. I'm not saying that wasn't the norm, but certainly there were plenty of exceptions.

It wasn't the check she ripped up, was it? I thought it was the secrete trust. I did sort of think it was pointless, because if it was valid it would have been documented and registered and considered legally binding whether she ripped it up or not. She didn't write it, so.... Oh. Well, that just made me realise. The secret trust was void, wasn't it? Because George didn't marry within the six months, and his father died suddenly, so the money reverted back to Noel's estate, and so by default Magdalene got it. So I'm not sure her tearing it up served any purpose whatever. But I suppose it was a sign she'd truly put the past behind her. Perhaps it was more symbolic than anything. I guess I took it that way. But you're right to say it was pointless.

We didn't see much of Nora. I kept waiting to read more of her. Her story, her romance, it all occurred off stage. She wasn't the central figure, so I suppose that's ok, but...I would have liked to have seen her trials firsthand. I would have liked to have been able to compare the two. However...can you imagine how long the book would have been then?

message 6: by Marialyce (last edited May 23, 2012 05:49AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Marialyce I, too, thought she ripped up the Secret trust. After what she went through to get the money, I could not see her ripping up the check, but then again, Magdalen went through so much to get what she thought was coming to her and her sister, that ripping up the heck might have given her some peace of mind.

I read that this book caused a lot of flak among the Victorian readers as it dealt with illegitimacy and the rules of court. Interesting, as I think I read that Collins himself fathered a few children out of wedlock so perhaps this was a topic close to his head and heart.

I, too, wanted more of Norah's story, but as you said, V.r., the book might have gone on for quite a few (?) more pages. I have to say that this book is my most favorite of the ones I have read by Collins. I loved the others, but this one hit a chord that I felt was ever so human, understanding, and forgiving.

Julia Bluff | 8 comments Sorry. That's right, it was the trust that she ripped up. Still, I think it's all pretty much the same. The trust is the money, in a sense. I just think ripping it up was a bit of an empty gesture for Mags—a way to make herself feel better about her actions.

Mairalyce, I had no idea that Collins fathered some illegitimate children. That's a little added layer of perspective on top of the book.

Here's what the Victorian web says: "His own bohemian domestic arrangements with Caroline Graves and Martha Rudd in a form of non-marital bigamy or morganatic family, which he kept carefully concealed, testifies to a liberal, but also chauvinistic, understanding of sexual and domestic relationships. He was a fond father to his illegitimate children and an equally affectionate pseudo-stepfather to Caroline Grave’s child from her broken marriage."

Goodness! You learn something new every day.

V.r. Christensen (VRChristensen) I didn't know that, either. Hmmm. I bet there's more to that story than meets the eye. Interesting.

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