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The Rose-Garden Husband

(The Rose-Garden Husband #1)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  187 ratings  ·  46 reviews
A message of good cheer, of happiness, of love, is carried to the reader in this delightful story of Phyllis, who is the cheery "Liberry teacher" and Allan, a sad invalid whom she marries after a rather curious proposal to escape her life of drudgery. What follows is a humorous and heartwarming tale of two lives.

Splendidly written, Miss Widdemer's sentences dance and spark
Kindle Edition, 108 pages
Published March 23rd 2011 (first published 1915)
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3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  187 ratings  ·  46 reviews

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Debbie Zapata
Oct 16, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gutenberg
Need to decide what to say here; maybe a nap would help. Or some chocolate.

A few hours later:
Okay, I've had my chocolate and I think I'm ready to go.

I added this book to my lists a few years ago when I made up a personal challenge with titles using names of flowers. Before I finally started reading I did something I very rarely do: skimmed over a few of the glowing reviews of the book; so I was prepared for a cute, fluffy little story, just what my overworked little pea brain needs these days.
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance, 1910s-1950s
Oh, I'm having such a good time with these romances from the early part of the 20th century. Project Gutenberg, I love you! This was my first Margaret Widdemer and I determined it wouldn't be my last. I've since learned that she won the Pulitzer for poetry! No wonder this story has such beautiful descriptions. Swoon! Yet it isn't just lovely descriptions of rose gardens and sunsets that won me over. The characterization is excellent; Widdemer proves herself a keen observer of humanity and one wi ...more
Bree (AnotherLookBook)

A novel about a young librarian who, dreaming one day of a husband and a rose garden, soon finds herself with both in store–but reality is always more complicated than the dream. 1915.

Full review (and other recommendations!) at Another Look Book

Oops, forgot to mark this one as read, let alone review it! It was a short book, so I was through it quickly. But I kept seeing it on my shelf and thinking, "I really should review that..." It's a quaint little book, not very full of surprises, but there
Jan 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
A very sweet tale of romance. A librarian who has no prospects , nothing to look forward to yearns for money, leisure a Rose Garden and maybe a husband. She is granted all these and much more by a funny twist of fate. I listened to it from Librivox and it certainly was a good impetus to take my morning walks regularly. Liked the sunny character of Phyllis and her musings . The last chapters but were so predictable. .
Aug 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh, what a lovely, old-fashioned romance.

Phyllis was alone in the world. She had a good job, as a librarian, and she rented a single room in a boarding house, but it was difficult to makes ends meet. Fortunately, Phyllis was a ‘glass half full’ kind of girl. She enjoyed her work as the children’s librarian, and she was very good at it. Phyllis was what my mother would call ‘a people person,’ and when she was at work I saw many things that I know would strike a chord with the librarians of today.
Rachel McMillan
Jun 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So this popped up in my Goodreads feed three different times over the past week, so I thought I might as well read it. It's a one-sitting read and will appeal to readers of Daddy Long Legs and Frances Hodgson Burnett's the Making of a Marchioness and the Blue Castle.

The language is archaic to the point of racist at times which can be distracting but also enlightening as it comes to painting the limitations of 1915 (the year the book was published) vernacular and scope.

The ending is ridiculous,
Perfectly, sublimely sweet love story from 1915. So very much up my alley it's unreal. I think I will try to find a hard copy of it. I loved it. (Is that clear yet?)
A young woman named Phyllis, who is quite on her own, works in a library. She's grateful for the job, and it's a pretty decent job, but she still feels the daily grind and regrets that her future seems to stretch, unending, with no change or rest in sight. In a moment of dissatisfaction, she wishes for a rose-garden, a husband, and e
Oh, this is pure delight! It's a lighthearted little romance, very clean, very fun...others have described the story, so I will only add how much I enjoyed it! In three hours I found a new favorite and reread the ending three times...
Phyllis is fed up with her life. Working as a librarian six days a week, tired and bored with no money, she longs for a life of leisure in the country, with pretty frocks, time to keep pretty, a rose-garden and a husband.

This kind of life seems totally out of reach until, one day, she is visited by an eldery gentleman called Mr. de Guenther, whom Phyllis is loosely acquainted with. He and his wife have an unusual offer for her - to marry a young, crippled man whose mother is dying. Since this p
Rebekah Giese Witherspoon
If you're a fan of "The Blue Castle" by L.M. Montgomery, you will probably love "The Rose-Garden Husband". :)

This is the story of Phyllis, a librarian who works six days a week and lives in a city boarding-house. Her life is filled to the brim with reading stories to sticky, adorable children who gather around her in the library's basement, leaving no time for her own reading or dreaming or sunshine or roses.

One day, she realizes that all she really wants is a rose garden and a husband who has e
Feb 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
I downloaded this book from The Gutenberg Project and read it on my iPad. It is a charming, old-fashioned book (beginning withe the premise that the heroine is a washed-up old maid because she is unmarried at the age of 25). She enters into an arranged marriage to care for a young man who is an invalid, and the romance unfolds. It's always pleasant to visit a simpler time, and this book is a very gentle trip into the past.
Jun 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A cute little romance! I would love to recreate this plot in one of my own stories someday! But delicate and conservative readers should be warned, it was quite jarring to read all the racial stereotypes and slurs that were sadly commonplace when this book was written a century ago.
I loved this sweet, simple story. When I finish a story like this, I feel satisfied, happy, and complete. This was my kind of book.

Read online at Project Gutenberg.
Mar 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who enjoyed 'The Weaver Takes a Wife' or 'Daddy-Long-Legs'
Rating: I loved, loved, loved it! (4.5 stars*)

(*4.5 stars because I only give 5 stars to very, very special books)

A mere 106 pages – but worth it! I read it in just over 2 hours, staying up far later than I should have to do so. I meant to just read for 15 minutes before going to sleep but the story pulled me in and I kept on telling myself 'Just the next chapter'... It was refreshing to find a book where the author matched the page-count to the scope of the story; she knew what she wanted to ac
Apr 26, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Classic Romance fans and Librarians
A proposal is made...

What can I say about this book? First I'm surprised so very few people have read it considering the fact that a movie at one point has been made of it (in 1917, called "A wife on trial" ). Not to mention the fact that it was penned by a Pulitzer prize winning author (admittedly though for poetry).

The novel has lots of charm and whimsy. The heroine this time is inspiring and cheerful, much to the chagrin of Mr. Allan Harrington! :P I found it a quick and humorous read and I
Nov 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Miss Braithwaite, or Liberry Teacher has the children call her, is a public library employee who loves her kids and books, but finds that living in the city and working leaves very little time (and even less money) for herself. One particular trying day she exclaims to herself, “I’m sick of working hard fifty-one weeks out of fifty-two for board and lodging and carfare and shirtwaists and the occasional society of a few girls who don’t get any more out of life than I do! I’m sick of libraries, a ...more
Perry Whitford
Phyllis Braithwaite doesn't exactly mind being a hard-working librarian, but she still hopes for something better. On the day the story opens she catches a quick glimpse of a girl she used to out shine from her old village, stepping from a car with two adorable looking children and looking very pretty and well looked after. She can't deny her envy:

"Oh, I wish—I wish I had a lot of money, and a rose-garden, and a husband!"

As luck would have it (or 'the Destinies', as the author would have it) she
Aug 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: julie marino, cathy dunn
I only wish I could give it six stars! Margaret Widdemer has an unusual and winsome writing style that won me over instantly. For example, she writes of the heroine, "But indeed there was something very gay and sweet and honest-minded about the girl, a something which gave people the feeling that they were very wise in liking her." (Interesting, that very description suits Widdemer as well...) It makes me wonder how I graduated with an English degree without hearing of this author, who regularly ...more
This is a sweet, very old-fashioned romance about a poor librarian and a paralyzed young man. It's one of those idealized tales where everything turns out perfect in the end. The story itself was quite short and I thought the ending was a bit abrupt. Like many old books it has some ethnic terms and stereotypes that aren't acceptable to today's readers, but they were few and brief.

I read it on openlibrary but the last couple of pages were missing and that's when I discovered projectgutenberg has
Aug 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 22, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, ebook, eye-roller
Not for me. I should leave it at that. I will say this - the hook was a good one - a woman agrees to marry a stranger/invalid who is expected to die soon. I can think of 5 different ways off the top of my head that the author could have made the rest of the story very interesting. But she didn't. Not to my taste, that's all. Others loved it.
A nice love story. I have had a pleasant afternoon.

But, I admit it isn't a masterpiece (and it is much predictable). But still, sometimes I need a short, nice story with happy ending. This novella was a good choice for my mood ;-)

Available in public domain on
This was a very sweet, clean not to long not to short arranged marriage romance. That takes place around the 1910 in New England. It was very well written and reminded me of a Mary Stewart or LL Montgomery book. I couldn't believe this was free for my kindle. It was such a cute sweet story that had good characters and flowed well. This will be one I take out and read again. 16 and up.
Apr 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Lovely story. I really like reading about people who manage to keep a positive outlook through trials.
Mary Ronan Drew
Apr 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
A 1915 romance about a weary librarian who gets a chance at a life of wealth and fulfillment.
Sep 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books
I found this book to be both beautiful and interesting. It was published in 1915 and the glimpse it gives into the lives and ideas and ideals of the time is fascinating.

Margaret Widdemer is a witty writer, I found myself reading portions aloud, just so people would understand why I was laughing. She also brilliantly captures the feelings and emotions of the characters. I know exactly how Phyllis feels, even if I've never worked a thankless job that makes you feel worn out before your time. I und
Laura McDonald
Jun 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was referred by Alisha who was dug up several lovely books for Girlebooks in the past, and this is no exception. The main character is Phyllis, a young woman who works long hours in a badly lighted library full of children. She is a cheerful gal, so the drudgery doesn't get her too down, but after 7 years at the library she can also see her dull future stretching unenticingly before her. One day while daydreaming at the card catalog she makes a wish, or rather three: for a sum of money ...more
Mar 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At the start of this novelette, I enjoy getting to know some very lovely people- the main character, Phyllis, and her delightful friends Mr. and Mrs. DeGuenther. Their friendship holds a special beauty to me, for I can relate to that unique bond between a young single woman and the older couples with whom she is friends. Then the story takes a ridiculous turn with some fairytale-like references to Fate, foreshadowing how Phyllis’ life is about to change. This culminates in Phyllis accepting the ...more
The words of Margaret Widdemer weaved together sent me to another world while I was absorbed into the story. In my mind, the story came alive. I felt as though I could see what Phyllis saw, feel the triedness of all her hard work and her overall emotions throughout, and I felt I could hear her delightful, kind voice as she spoke to the man that laid in those white covers, the man who became her husband. Many times I could relate to her feelings, and of Allan's feelings. Easily one of the best st ...more
Oct 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, fiction, 2016
This is a charming, sweet little story--an old-fashioned romance with a kind and likable heroine who's also her own independent person. It was predictable, and a bit improbable... but lovely all the same. I listened to a Librivox recording of it, and it was a delightful escape (excellent for listening to in traffic)!
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Margaret Widdemer (1884-1978) was an American author who won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (known then as the Columbia University Prize) in 1919 for her collection The Old Road to Paradise (1918). She shared the prize with Carl Sandburg, who won for his collection Corn Huskers (1916). Margaret Widdemer was born in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. She grew up in Asbury Park, New Jersey. She graduated from ...more

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The Rose-Garden Husband (2 books)
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“It was four o'clock of a stickily wet Saturday. As long as it is anything from Monday to Friday the average library attendant goes around thanking her stars she isn't a school-teacher; but the last day of the week, when the rest of the world is having its relaxing Saturday off and coming to gloat over you as it acquires its Sunday-reading best seller, if you work in a library you begin just at noon to wish devoutly that you'd taken up scrubbing-by-the-day, or hack-driving, or porch-climbing or- anything on earth that gave you a weekly half-holiday!” 2 likes
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