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Lady Rose and Mrs. Memmary
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Lady Rose and Mrs. Memmary

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  276 ratings  ·  41 reviews
The Countess of Lochlule marries Sir Hector, owner of the estate next to 'Keepsfield', the palatial Scottish mansion where she lives. But one day she meets someone on a park bench in Edinburgh. This novel is about dreams and the hard world of money and position and their relations to one another.
Paperback, 223 pages
Published November 8th 2004 by Persephone Books (first published 1937)
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3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  276 ratings  ·  41 reviews

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Beth Bonini
Nov 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Sometimes the introduction (or foreword) to a book is a pointless bore, but it can also illuminate a book in a particular way that makes the reading experience more enjoyable. Candia McWilliam provides the foreword to this one and I highly recommend that you read it first, as it does set you up for what you will find in this charming, fairy-tale like book. As she warns, it is "high in sugar" - but compelling, too. First published in 1937, as the country was still mired in depression and events i ...more
Nov 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: persephone-books
Oh, this is lovely.

It begins with three people, an English couple and an American friend, on holiday in the Scottish Highlands. They see a sign, on grand wrought-iron gates, advertising a magnificent residence to be let. They are intrigued and the gatekeeper invites them to look more closely, assuring them that the housekeeper, Mrs Memmary would be only too pleased to show off the house.

“He unfastened a side-gate and they ran their car along a mile of carriage-drive, through a plantation where r
Karen Mace
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
My love for Persephone seems to grow with every book from my collection that I read, and this has added to my admiration!

Knew very little of this book before I picked it up so didn't know what to expect, and thoroughly enjoyed this charming tale of Lady Rose through the eyes of Mrs Memmary as she tells tales of the life and times of Lady Rose to some American tourists who are visiting the beautiful old home Keepsfield. Times were much different for Lady Rose as she grew up and it was fascinating
Dec 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Persephone describes this novel as a "love letter to Scotland", and as I will be studying in Scotland next year, I figured it'd be a nice start. It's one of those books that, despite sometimes slightly too obviously praising Scotland and juxtaposing Edinburgh and London, give you a fuzzy feeling and a longing to see the places so vividly described in these pages.

The narrative jumps back and forth between different stages of Lady Rose's life, and the housekeeper telling a visiting guest little st
Oct 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: persephone-books

I just adored this book. I can see it wouldn't be to everyone's taste, but it could have been written especially for me.

Three people go to see a stately home, in the days when you could just turn up and ask to see round. The caretaker shows them around and tells them about Lady Rose, the last Countess. Then the narration jumps back in time to describe more fully what happened.

I loved it - I'm a romantic, love Scotland and grew up in Scotland, love Scottish grand houses (not that I've lived in
Melanie (Mel's Bookland Adventures)
„A 1937 fairytale with an uneasy crash into social reality“ it certainly was that. Apparently, a favourite of the Queen‘s mother. A quick read and I enjoyed it, but the switch in tone just over half way through caught me a bit off guard.
May 02, 2012 rated it liked it
This is an unusual book; it has a rather dream-like quality, as it goes back and forth in time between the "present" (actually the mid-1930s) and the past of the mid-1800s. It tells the story of Lady Rose, who is a very privileged child of the Scottish nobility, and how her life evolves. There's a bit of a mystery (although I figured it out pretty quickly) and wonderful descriptions of Rose's magnificent home, Keepsfield.

The book is written in a style that some might find overwrought; I thought
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I had heard of Persephone books, but I didn’t really know what they were until I listened to a podcast all about them. Basically, they are books by little known (mostly) women writers from the (mostly) early 19th century re-published into beautiful editions. Once I knew what they were, I was desperate to start reading them ASAP. The problem is that I’m currently living in Omaha, Nebraska and the books are published and sold in London, England. (And of course, I’ve been to London twice in the las ...more
Charlotte Jones
Aug 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Lady Rose and Mrs Memmary is a love letter to Scotland. Ruby Ferguson's writing style evokes the atmosphere of a fairy tale whilst talking about characters that are wholly realistic. Keepfields, the house in which Lady Rose grows up, and the landscape around it becomes a character in its own right and is so much a part of the characters' lives that it is impossible to imagine this book set anywhere else.

With charming illustrations and feminist themes, this is definitely a classic that more peopl
Jun 06, 2012 added it
A Persephone newsletter recommended this for Jubilee reading (it was a favorite of the Queen Mum), and lo and behold, I came across it at the library the very next day. For me, the flowery prose and histrionic emotion made it tough going, and I never felt much for our wee Scottish heroine, the Lady Rose, Countess of Lochlule. But there were two aspects I found interesting: 1) the contrast of colorful, romantic Scotland with pale, limp England; 2) the sometimes funny critique of high aristocracy ...more
Feb 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
This was perfect reading for a quiet Sunday afternoon. Persephone 53 is a charming grown up fairy tale. Lady Rose is a romantic, and she carries that romantism all her life, and it is this which shapes her destiny. This simple little novel also highlights quite tragically how inflexible and unforgiving was Victorian high society. This is also a novel about Scotland, Lady Rose is a proud and patriotoc Scot - and the novel allows us a teasing glimpse of some of the beauties of Scotland before the ...more
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: inter-war
Dear Goodreads,

Please keep all the cynical, unromantic, loveless reviews of this book at the bottom of the page.

Thank you,

About the twist: I guess I really am as gullible as everyone says, because I didn't see "the twist" coming until the very end. Even if you're a perceptive reader who could see the twist coming, I hope it delighted you as much as it did me. (I cried.)

Don't expect this book to challenge you or muddle your thoughts. It's fluff, plain and simple. What the cold reviews at
3.5 Stars.
May 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is an entertaining read, especially for anyone with a bit of a 'thing' for Scotland.
Rebecca Shipley
Jun 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 24, 2011 added it
Meh. Spotted the twist coming very early on. And for searing indictment of Victorian upper-class marriage market and conventions of appropriate behaviour, E M Delafield is so much better (and more cynical about All For Love, too).
Aug 16, 2018 rated it liked it
I feel like a read two separate books. The first half was this lovely story about a very charmed little girl and the hopes and dreams regarding her life. Well written and very sweet. About 2/3 of the way through the book there's a turn that might very well be an indicator of psychosis. True love is sure important but the direction this book took was numbing. First you have a woman dreading sending her children off to school because she loves them so dearly, next thing you know she makes decision ...more
Melanie Moore
Jun 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Lady Rose and Mrs Memmary was originally published in 1937. I have a special place in my heart for Edinburgh so I was immediately drawn to the descriptions of the beautiful landscape of Scotland. In fact, the book has been referred to as "a love letter to Scotland". Lady Rose is a character who the reader can't help but love. She is full of life, and warmth, and sees the beauty in even the simplest things. While the book can seem almost dreamlike, there are some deeper messages of the constraint ...more
May 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
I loved this little gem of a story. It begins almost like a fairy tale. It is Lady Rose's sixth birthday. She is a happy child, seeing the beauty and good in all around her. She comes from a prominent, wealthy family. She wants for nothing in her young life. As the story progresses shades of darkness begin to creep in. We start to understand what restrictions a young woman must live within during the mid 1800's.
I especially loved young Lady Rose's encounter with Charles Kingsley and his book, Th
Feb 06, 2018 rated it liked it
3 1/2 stars. Would have liked more character development.
Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Liked this much more than I thought I would. The preface was off putting - so give that a miss.
Mandy Constable
Jun 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Such a lovely story with a surprise at the end which I didn’t see coming.
Dec 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Bit overwritten, but very engaging, lovely illustrations and a really good reading-while-ill book.
Jul 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was my first Persephone book! I found the character of Rose extremely likeable, even if she was ever so slightly precocious as a child. I found myself not wanting to put this book down, and although I guessed the small twist from the off, it didn’t take anything away from my enjoyment of the story at all. There were also several points where I laughed out loud, “…marriage with the right kind of man will soon take the romance out of [romantic girls]” on page 118 for instance.

It makes a chan
Jun 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: persephone
Set in Scotland, the narrative shifts between the 1930s and the 1870s-80s, with an old lady called Mrs Memmary telling the story of Lady Rose Targenet to some casual visitors to the Targenet family home, now long vacant. Lady Rose shocked Scottish society in her day by giving up everything for a penniless man that she loved.

The story is told well enough, but the characters are not very original. It was the evocation of life in 19th-century Scotland and the description of the Fife countryside th
Janice White
May 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was a charming book. So glad that Persephone decided to publish it. It is a very gentle story of It is set in Scotland and is the story of Lady Rose Targenet, who marries a man who owns an estate in Scotland,where they live in a palatial mansion. One day she meets a man on a park bench and her life changes forever.
Persephone Press books are lovely to see! The end papers are carefully selected, usually decades old textile images and the covers are heavy papers, almost card stock, and solid colors. This press re-publishers books written by women in Britain. Each year more titles are added. I wish I could afford to have each new title mailed to me from London!
Dec 01, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: persephone
Not one of my favorite Persephone books. It was all too precious. Even the Bad Event that happened was precious. The characters, especially Rose, were stock. The Persephone sellers say that this was a great favorite of the Queen Mother, so now I know not to follow any of her literary suggestions. I did enjoy the Scottish element, though. And the plot moved along nicely.
Dec 11, 2011 rated it liked it
The switching between past a present times was a little odd when I first started reading the book, but the transitions become smoother as the story goes along. I wasn't very into the story until halfway through when it completely captured me. I especially enjoyed reading about the landscapes of Scotland and how the city of Edinburgh looked during the 30s.
Jul 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club
A book that makes you feel like you've been transported back in time! I loved the characters, the story, and the framing device used here. There was a romance in the book that felt a bit odd and forced, and I never fully understood the main character's final motivations.
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