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Fraulein Schmidt and Mr Anstruther

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  146 ratings  ·  28 reviews
This enchanting novel tells the story of the love affair between Rose-Marie Schmidt and Roger Anstruther. A determined young woman of twenty-five, Rose-Marie is considered a spinster by the inhabitants of the small German town of Jena where she lives with her father, the Professor. To their homes comes Roger, an impoverished but well-born young Englishman who wishes to ...more
Paperback, 392 pages
Published February 2nd 2006 by Little Brown and Co. (UK) (first published 1907)
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Average rating 3.96  · 
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 ·  146 ratings  ·  28 reviews

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I always feel somehow as if I'd simultaneously dived to the darkest depths and done nothing more than lay in a garden on a summer's day when I read von Arnim. Her work is the most insistent drumbeat for women's independence and for extending women freedom and personhood I've read, while at the same time it can also be a small voice, self-deprecating and with a wise smile swearing she is foolish and worthless and best left alone (no please, please, really leave her alone, right now please). Of ...more
Dana Loo
Ho apprezzato tantissimo questo mio primo von Arnim, non avrei potuto avere approccio migliore. In forma epistolare e con uno stile narrativo impeccabile, lettera dopo lettera, assistiamo all'evoluzione di una giovane donna che, dopo aver assaporato per un brevissimo periodo le gioie dell'amore racchiuse in un solo bacio ed una promessa, ne viene improvvisamente privata. Dopo un comprensibile momento di sbandamento, diventiamo testimoni del suo rifiorire, del suo trasformare l'ordinario della ...more
Apr 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Having discovered not long ago that Elizabeth Von Arnim novels are available free from such sites as Project Gutenberg, Many and Girlebooks, I promptly downloaded four. I am puzzled how Amazon can justify still charging for these kindle books . I think however that these are the sort of books I might like to own in book format and will continue to keep an eye out for reasonably priced copies. In fact I found a nice Virago green edition of The Enchanted April just yesterday while in Hay ...more
Laura McDonald
Feb 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Delightful! A story told in completely in the letter of Fraulein Schmidt to her former lodger and sometime lover, Mr. Anstruther. I sure hope he hopped on a train from Berlin to Jena...
Jun 09, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to love this book, but I ended up simply liking it. The match between a reader and a book is always a highly personal one, and in this case the book fell short of my desire for a stronger plot. It is beautifully written, but meanders along very slowly, and I found myself wishing that something more would happen. This epistolary novel takes the form of letters written by a single writer, a young German woman, to the Englishman who has jilted her. Over time the letters reveal her to be an ...more
Judith Johnson
Nov 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it! See my (short!) blog:

È il mio primo approccio a questa scrittrice e il giudizio è completamente positivo.
Il romanzo si svolge in forma epistolare, ma riesce a dare una visione completa dei personaggi, della loro individualità, dei paesaggi, della storia stessa.
Rose-Marie, la protagonista, mi è piaciuta moltissimo: solo nelle prime pagine dà limpressione di comportarsi come lennesima innamorata insulsa, dopo dà prova di vera personalità e carattere.
Apr 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
YES. I am once again convinced that Elizabeth von Arnim is no mere fluff writer. I had my doubts about the epistolary style of this book...and, of course, about the truly horrible title, (really, Elizabeth?) but they were quickly swept away, sentence by sentence. Beautiful writing, beautiful story, and I really was not sure what the final outcome would be until the very last sentence. Wholeheartedly recommended.
Aug 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
A warm and wonderful epistolary novel, first published in 1907. All the letters are from Fraulein Schmidt to Mr. Anstruther. She's intelligent, amusing, perceptive, and independent. He's irritating and unreliable. I wish more people read Elizabeth von Arnim - Enchanted April is the best, but I loved this as well.
Sep 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favourites
Oh how you want to shout at Roger Anstruther when you read this book...and to go to Jena to have coffee with Rose-Marie. I wish someone would write me letters like these.
Rob Stainton
Mar 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: gave-up
I was often very moved by elements of the "letters". Too much so, in fact. It was making me too sad, so I stopped half way.
Aug 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Written as a series of letters from Rose-Marie Schmidt of Jena, eastern Germany, to her 'dearest of all living creatures', English Roger Anstruther - until recently a language student and lodger with her family. Roger has just returned home to his much wealthier family after declaring his love, and Rose's letters are filled with impatience for his replies.
Within the first few pages, it becomes clear that Roger's constancy is fading fast, under his father's demands that he marry into the upper
Dec 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A young German girl writes charming letters to a former student of her father, who has returned to England after declaring his love for her. His father disapproves so she agrees to break the engagement and remain friends. This is the most delightful book I've read in a long time. I doled out Fraulein Schmidt's letters one by one to make them last as long as possible. It's hard to believe this book is out of print, but fortunately, it's available from Project Gutenberg and as an ebook from online ...more
Dec 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is an epistolary novel consisting of a series of letters from Fraulein Schmidt, the daughter of a poor Goethe scholar to a British man, Mr. Anstruthe, who had boarded with them to study German. Through the letters it became apparent that he jilted her in favor of a wealthy woman once he got home and he, in turn, was jilted. This is all learned through the one-sided communication as we only see her letters. By describing the events in home of Jena, a university town closely linked to Goethe, ...more
Jul 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Lovers of beauty, nature and long, rambling letters
Don't be put off by the unromantic title - this is a gem of a book! It consists entirely of one young woman's letters to her friend and would-be lover, Mr. Anstruther. And they are delightful letters. In true Von Arnim style, the book overflows with glorious descriptions of every day things. I don't know any other author who can make an apple or a coffee pot sound so wonderfully romantic or describe the beauty of the first snows so perfectly that one almost expects to find snowflakes on their ...more
Daniela Mastropasqua
Ok, lo so... rischio di non essere più credibile se ogni volta metto tutte queste stelline ai libri della Von Arnim! Ma che ci posso fare? Il suo stile, sempre così diverso da libro a libro, è straordinario. Le sue storie mi coinvolgono moltissimo.
Questo, per esempio, è sensazionale. Ecco che l'autrice ci fa leggere le lettere che la giovane Rose-Marie scrive al suo amico/innamorato. Leggiamo solo la sua voce, eppure intuiamo quello che dall'altra parte il ragazzo le risponde. Lettere
Elena T. (Eleanor26th)
Insieme a "Il giardino di Elizabeth" uno dei migliori Von Armin, anno 1907.
Acuto e schietto, brillante e ironico, un romanzo epistolare che versa in un soliloquio incredibilmente affascinante, dove determinazione si sostituisce ad amore, poi fuga e velato disprezzo (anche nelle altrui critiche la Von Armin è genialmente raffinata). Ottimo sotto ogni punto di vista e questa vecchia edizione ha una copertina vintage assai preferibile di quella pacatamente "harmony" che si trova adesso in libreria.
Kilian Metcalf
Jul 04, 2014 rated it liked it
I liked this book, but not hugely. It is nowhere near the quality of The Enchanted April or Elizabeth's German Garden. For starters, I'm not crazy about epistolary novels, and this book didn't do much to change my mind. I found the ending particularly unsatisfying. It's as if the protagonist is determined to be as contrary and unpleasant as possible. She succeeded in putting me off, that's for sure. If you like this type of novel, you might enjoy it more than I did.
Sep 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Mi sento sempre sovrastata dalle eroine di Elizabeth von Arnim, così limpide, semplici, coraggiose, padrone di sé, ironiche, intelligenti specie quando acquistano ulteriore luminosità dal contrasto con un personaggio opaco, presuntuoso, instabile, vittimista, ottuso devo aggiungere altro? Un uomo, come tanti altri. ...more
Apr 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
Interesting read of the friendship between Rose Marie Schmidt and Mr. Anstruther and what became of it. Very realistic. Rose Marie has a humorous personality and I liked the writing style in her letters to Mr. Anstruther.
Dec 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: epistolary
Re-read, November 2018 (first read 2013). 3.5 stars. Review to follow, sometime, maybe. :)
Aug 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In realtà 3.75
Gowri N.
Sep 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Single p.o.v novel in which the story develops through a series of letters written by Fraulein Schmidt to Mr Anstruther over the course of (I guess) two years. The fraulein is full of gumption and makes a number of wry observations about everyday life in Germany and the people she meets. Her letters make for very interesting reading.

At the same time, I missed having Mr Anstruther's voice. All we know about him is through the fraulein's paraphrased sentences and we know narrators can be
Apr 24, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, kindle
An epistolary novel, giving us only one side of the conversation. We spend a year with Fraulein Schmidt's letters to almost-fiance Mr Anstruther. A lot of this was lovely, talking about the simple life of an educated woman during what must be the end of the 19th century. But a lot of this also dragged, considering the format was very limiting and Fraeulein Schmidt likes to muse about the beauty of meadows. I fluctuated between 2 or 3 stars, but then the ending thankfully went the way I hoped it ...more
Jan 03, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy Elizabeth von Arnim's writing, and this book doesn't disappoint. However, I found the epistolary format a bit wearing as all the letters are from only one of the two people corresponding. It's kind of a long read and a bit repetitious, though the writing is always wonderful. Not so sure about that ambiguous ending, though...or WAS it ambiguous?!!
Rebekah Giese Witherspoon
This Edwardian epistolary novel presents the letters of a new kindred spirit of mine, Fräulein Rose-Marie Schmidt of Jena, Germany, to Mr. Roger Anstruther of London, England.

Papa, in the slippers you can't have forgotten, is in his corner by the stove, loudly disagreeing with the morning paper; he keeps on shouting Schafskopf. Johanna is carrying coals about and dropping them with a great noise. My step-mother is busy telling her how wrong it is to drop dirty coals in clean places. I am
rated it really liked it
Sep 07, 2009
Monica Boscolo
rated it really liked it
Jun 17, 2014
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Elizabeth, Countess Russell, was a British novelist and, through marriage, a member of the German nobility, known as Mary Annette Gräfin von Arnim.

Born Mary Annette Beauchamp in Sydney, Australia, she was raised in England and in 1891 married Count Henning August von Arnim, a Prussian aristocrat, and the great-great-great-grandson of King Friedrich Wilhelm I of Prussia.

She had met von Arnim

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