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Fraulein Schmidt and Mr Anstruther

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  197 ratings  ·  38 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 lea ...more
Paperback, 392 pages
Published February 2nd 2006 by Little Brown and Co. (UK) (first published January 1st 1907)
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Average rating 3.95  · 
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 ·  197 ratings  ·  38 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 co ...more
Sep 09, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
So, this is a solid 3-star rating — definitely worth reading. I have to tell you that this started out as a 2-star book. This is my 7th book I have read by Elizabeth and I am a devotee. I felt terrible while preparing to give it a 2-star to explain such a thing in my review? 😯

I took 4 pages of notes because I needed/wanted to keep track of what Fräulein Schmidt was saying to Mr. Anstruther in her letters to him. Here is a progression of those notes of mine that are solely judgmental
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...
Primrose Jess
Jul 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-owned
We are neither of us wise, but it is surprising how talking to a friend, even to a friend as unwise as yourself, clears up your brains and lets in a new light.

I almost didn't keep reading. I'm writing this in case, you a potential reader, pick up this book on a five star recommendation and felt as I did the first 47 pages into the big. The breathy, saccharine filled gushing love letters to Roger were too much. I began to wonder how von Arnim could fill an entire novel of these types of letters
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 cl
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
Pixi Jo
Doesn't this book ever sound like it might be the naughty letters between two star-crossed lovers?
In a way it almost could have been...
But I'm glad it wasn't!

Our Fraulein is ditched by Mr Anstruther (Let's call him Roger, it's easier), and she's not too happy about it, as one is apt be in such circumstances.
However they continue writing to each other, and, although we read only her letters, we begin to see the strange friendship they develop and the even stranger, more fascinating, mind of our h
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 sh ...more
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
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. ...more
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.
Aug 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, classics
The right book a the right time. What a delight!
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
Apr 24, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, 2019
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
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. ...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?!! ...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.
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. ...more
Stephanie Griffin
Fraulein Schmidt did the right thing.
cardulelia carduelis
The first von Arnim I read, Elizabeth and her German Garden had an awful lot of naturalism in it, subverting expected gender roles, and gardening. So much nice gardening and writing about flowers. Since this was a couple of years ago, and I enjoyed it so much, I wondered as I picked up this book if my rating was pushed over the edge by these green themes and not the writing itself.
Well colour me surprised. This book, which I shouldn't have enjoyed at all based on content and structure, blew me
Sarah Carless
Sep 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Brava Rose-Marie! The woman in this exceptionally cleverly written book is a perfect role model for today. Von Arnim was clearly an exceptionally clever woman herself and this book feels strongly autobiographical, perhaps because it's written in the first person in the form of chronological letters to a man. Regardless, its overall effect is to make you fall in love with its writer, and the protagonist all the more, because she doesn't give in to a Jane Austen like happy ending, inst
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 writ
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 unreliabl
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. :)
Michael Kott
Nov 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: von-arnim
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 24, 2020 rated it it was ok
Sad and only a little entertaining
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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 durin

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“Love is not a thing you can pick up and throw into the gutter and pick up again as the fancy takes you. I am a person, very unfortunately for you, with a quite peculiar dread of thrusting myself or my affections on any one, of in any way outstaying my welcome. The man I would love would be the man I could trust to love me for ever. I do not trust you. I did outstay my welcome once. I did get thrown into the gutter, and came near drowning in that sordid place.” 13 likes
“My step-mother looked at me at least once on each of these miserable days, and said: 'Rose-Marie, you look very odd. I hope you are not going to have anything expensive. Measles are in Jena, and also the whooping-cough.'
'Which of them is the cheapest?' I inquired.
'Both are beyond our means,' said my step-mother severely.”
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