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The Mystery of Mrs Blencarrow & Queen Eleanor and Fair Rosamond
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The Mystery of Mrs Blencarrow & Queen Eleanor and Fair Rosamond

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  55 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
Margaret Oliphant (1828-97), one of the outstanding writers of the nineteenth century, was in her time as well-known as Dickens, George Eliot and Mrs Gaskell: ‘the exemplary woman of letters’ is how the literary critic Queenie Leavis described the author of Persephone Book No. 89, The Mystery of Mrs Blencarrow. And the novelist Penelope Fitzgerald's claim was that ‘Mrs Oli ...more
Paperback, 198 pages
Published October 21st 2010 by Persephone Books
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Jane
Feb 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
I’ve been aware of Mrs Oliphant for a long time, I was sure she would be my kind of author, but it’s taken me a while to start reading

I have the books that Virago published, I have one or two others in older editions, and when I heard an radio adaption of one of the books in the Carlingford Chronicles at the very end of last year I was smitten.

I resolved to start reading as soon as I had finished my journey through Trollope’s Barchester books.

I didn’t stop to think that Mrs Oliphant was a prolif
...more
Katie Lumsden
Apr 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Two brilliant novellas! Both dramatic, interesting, and playing with the themes and conventions of Victorian literature and society. I will definitely be reading more by Margaret Oliphant.
Adam Stevenson
Jan 31, 2018 rated it liked it
‘The Mystery of Mrs Blencarrow’ is a Victorian Melodrama for those who get frustrated and ask what the characters are playing at.

It’s a mature, measured novella where characters make difficult decisions based on their own feelings but also regarding other people. This is because the two main characters are both middle-aged, experienced and not merely dumb teenagers. They contrast to Mrs Blencarrow and Mystery Man are Kitty and Walter, who are dumb teenagers (but, we learn, grow up to become a lo
...more
Ally
Oct 03, 2016 rated it liked it
This book is actually a collection of two novellas written by Margaret Oliphant in the late 1880's, which puts them squarely in the Victorian era. The expected ending of novels, at this time, was a marriage and happy family, but these two works rebuff such convention. In fact, the main characters in both of Mrs. Oliphant's stories are strong, loving, complicated women who are faced with very difficult situations that do not end happily at all.

In the first novella, THE MYSTERY OF MRS BLENCARROW,
...more
Linda
Jan 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Mrs Oliphant (1828-97), one of the outstanding writers of the nineteenth century, was in her time as well-known as Dickens, George Eliot and Mrs Gaskell: ‘the exemplary woman of letters’ is how the literary critic Queenie Leavis described her. And the novelist Penelope Fitzgerald's claim was that ‘Mrs Oliphant is at her very best in novellas and short stories.’ She suggested that two of them, The Mystery of Mrs Blencarrow (1890) and Queen Eleanor and Fair Rosamond (1886), might well be reprinted ...more
Jeslyn
Mar 17, 2015 rated it it was ok
I have heard of Mrs. Oliphant for years, but never read any of her work - one of the most prolific authors of the 19th century, she rather feverishly wrote hundreds of articles, short stories, novellas, and full-length novels, motivated in a big way by the death of her husband and the need to support her family as a single mother. By all accounts she was highly regarded by notables including Charles Dickens, but perhaps not for these two offerings. Both were highly predictable, and Blencarrow in ...more
Ali
Sep 21, 2011 rated it really liked it

Both the novellas in this book run along similar lines. The women are the stonger characters and drive the narrative, the men who are cause of their problems, have a lesser role, are weaker and less reliable.
Considering their themes of broken marriages, these novellas seem very un-Victorian like. Victorian society rules touch both central female characters: In the title novella, society is a harsh critic of Mrs Blencarrow when rumours of her secret marriage begin the circulate. In the second, Mr
...more
Russell James
May 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Two novellas, revealing a lot about Victorian domestic life. Mrs Blencarrow is a respectable widow whose dark secret is revealed (but without the melodrama you might expect). Eleanor's husband has been increasingly often absent from home - until one day he doesn't come back. This is a surprisingly realistic tale, made more effective by its deliberate lack of drama. (Like life, really; that's the point.)
Mairi
Jul 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
Margaret Oliphant was a Scottish Victorian author whom I discovered when I moved to Glasgow. This book was a collection of short stories. I have yet to read one of her full length novels, but her short stories are very gripping - full of (usually) sad or haunted characters whose lives, though ordinary are at the same time intriguing and eventful. I really love her style, her stories and characters.
Sasha Drennan
Dec 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
The 'mysteries' weren't hard to guess, but were perhaps a lot more shocking to a contemporary readership. That makes the composed, grown-up, modern way the plots and protagonists are treated extremely impressive
Rosemary
Sep 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: persephone
I loved these two novellas which have a lot in common. Despite the titles, 'The Mystery of Mrs Blencarrow' is not a murder mystery and 'Queen Eleanor and Fair Rosamond' is not historical. Both are about hidden secrets and both show middle-aged Victorian women acting in strong and unexpected ways.
Ayreon
Jun 26, 2015 rated it it was ok
2.5
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John McGowan
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Tracy
Feb 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Another fantastic selection from the great publishing house of Persephone Books!
Lucienne Boyce
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Reader, I Read It
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14266369
Margaret Oliphant Wilson Oliphant (née Margaret Oliphant Wilson), was a Scottish novelist and historical writer, who usually wrote as Mrs. Oliphant. Her fictional works encompass "domestic realism, the historical novel and tales of the supernatural".

Margaret Oliphant was born at Wallyford, near Musselburgh, East Lothian, and spent her childhood at Lasswade (near Dalkeith), Glasgow and Liverpool. A
...more
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