Frances Hodgson Burnett published The Making of a Marchioness in 1901. She had written Little Lord Fauntleroy 15 years before and would write The Secret Garden in 10 years' time; it is these two books for which she is best known. Yet Marchioness was one of Nancy Mitford's favourite books, was considered 'the best novel Mrs Hodgson Burnett wrote' by Marghanita Laski, and is taught on a university course in America together with novels such as Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, and Daisy Miller.
Public Domain (P)2011 Persephone
This is a romance in the Victorian style. The characters are rather stylized and in the case of the protagonist, idealized.
Nevertheless it is a sweet tale that drew me in and made me care about the two main characters. The goodness of the heroine might put off some listeners, but if you allow yourself to be pulled in and love her, the rest of the story will keep you in suspense and entertain you.
Reading is one of my great loves, but as a busy mum to 4, I seldom have the time to sit down with a good book. Audible changed that for me.
I really enjoyed this story. You are drawn into it almost instantly. It is a sweet romance with the merest hint of thriller in it. While it is rather predictable, it can be forgiven if you remember that you are reading it for light entertainment and not for the pursuit of intellect. It is very wholesome and sweet, and I liked the characters.
Home school family with six children ages 7-21. We love listening to audible books together. We like Twaddle-free books.
I enjoyed this story. It is Horatio Algeristic (Is that a word?) in it's approach. A young woman, who is not petite and beautiful, always works hard for those that hire her to do their shopping and secretarial work. She gets to know some of the leading citizens of her era. She gets invited to a huge week + long party at a very wealthy lady's country place. She is there to work and she does so willingly. Her hard work makes her invulnerable to all the snide remarks that come her way and also makes her much loved by most. This is a fun story that takes place in England in the 1800s. I like the history and the story. You know everything comes out all right in the end, but it is still an enthralling listen. I will listen to this again with the children.
Outstanding narrator. Curious story with a very well-drawn heroine. Interest in the heroine kept me reading.
Lucy Scott has a wonderful voice and uses it to full effect.
Humanitarian Aid Worker living in Central Asia.
I like Frances Hodgson-Burnett stories from my childhood, but her sentiments towards people of color can be viewed as racist in today's world. This book is quite obvious about the Englishman's fear and distrust of the Indian of dark skin. However, the author is most likely truthfully portraying what the British ladies were saying about Indians at that time.
The narrator did a great job reading the story except when it came to the voice of the main character. She made the character so silly sounding that it was hard to like the character much.
Overall, I am glad I listened to the story. It was not long and did not stress the grey matter while I washed dishes and cooked.
yes. But I think I have read the all.
The voice of the main character.
While Frances Hodgson-Burnett is best known for her children's books, such as A Little Princess and The Secret Garden, she also wrote books for adult readers. What a pleasure that Lucy Scott and the folks from Persephone Publishers have brought this book to life for modern readers/listeners. Lucy Scott's reading is a perfect compliment for this, perhaps the best of the "adult" novels by Burnett.
This book certainly had its charms, and I can understand why it might have been a popular women's novel in its day (it was originally published in 1901). It tells the story of a refined but impoverished woman in her thirties, Miss Emily Fox-Seton, who scratches out a living by assisting her betters to shop wisely and plan parties while remaining obligingly in the background. Just as disaster seems about to befall (her kindly landlady and her daughter plan to give up the house where Emily rooms), wonder of wonders, she receives an unexpected marriage proposal that catapults her into the upper echelon of society. Lord Waldehurst has been won over by Emily's good taste and unprepossessing nature--undoubtedly the dream of many an aging spinster in 1901.
But, alas, it is at this point that the novel falls a bit short for the 21st-century reader. Emily's kindness and naiveté seem to know no bounds. She tries to befriend Alec Osbourne (who has been Lord Waldehurst's sole heir for the past 30 years or so) and his pregnant half-Indian wife, even coaxing her husband--who is about to leave for business in India--to allow her to furnish a house on the estate grounds for their use. It never enters her head that the Osbournes might see her as a potential threat to the property, money, and title that they hope to inherit, and she is hurt and confused by their often surly manners and Hortense's frequent angry outbursts. (When her trusty maid tells Emily that she fears that Amira, Hortense's ayah, is up to no good, Emily encourages her to read Uncle Tom's Cabin to improve her view of "the blacks.") Following several near-misses--accidents that would have been fatal--plus a confession from Hortense that she sometimes hates the now-pregnant Emily and that Alec wants to kill her, Emily feels that the best solution to her dilemma is to take Hortense's advice to "go away" to stay safe until her child is born. Emily's goodness is just too unbelievable; I started to agree with Alec's estimation that she was just "a big fool," and I wanted to smack her back into reality. And the Osbournes and Amira fall into caricatures of villains so evil that I expected even Hortense and Amira to be twirling long black moustachios.
I'm giving the book three stars as a period piece and an example of early 20th century women's novels, and perhaps with some bonus points for Persephone's quite lovely cover. Read it when you are in the mood for pure fluff.
Attorney - love to listen to audio books
A well written and enthralling tale. Excellent reader. A unlikely heroine (Emily) goes on a visit to a country manor. She is poor but well bred, handsome and of good blood. She is loved by all the women she comes in contact with because she is good natured and kind - eager to please and never jealous or envious of other's good fortune. You will pull for her to have some good fortune too. Emily is one of the most likable fictitious characters I have come across in many years of reading. There are other well drawn and likable characters such as Mrs. Cup and her daughter Jane and Lady Maria. The writer is truly talented in character development and also has the ability to draw the reader into a well told and interesting story. I highly recommend this book.
Scary in places, full of contrasts, with goid characterization. I couldn't put it down.
A sweet Victorian-era romance, very much a novel of its period. The narration is delightful. By today's standards, the conflicts might seem rather superficial and the heroine is perhaps too sweet to be real. I found it refreshing to listen to a story with an uncomplicated and all-out happy ending.
"A demonstration of Edwardian Manners"
Oh how nicely observed is the amazing story of the Marchioness. Frances Hodgson-Burnett casts a wry and good humoured eye over the establishment and dig\s out a gem of a woman. This dear lady ( and wouldn't we all take her as a wife) problems begin when she first dons her coronet and her husband goes to India leaving her to be the target of the jealousy and even homicidal ambitions of others. Though the end is a little abrupt this is a gem well worth while and sensitively read by the estimable Lucy Scott
I got this after having falling in love with Lucy Scott's narration of Jane Eyre and I wasn't disappointed. Hugely enjoyable and pure Sunday afternoon comfort. I love, love, love her rendition of Mrs Walderhurst's maid Jane Cupp.
"Beautiful to hear the old English"
Doesn't really matter if you like the story or not the language is lovely and poetic. Shows how words have changed in their meaning.
Gentle story and rather adictive
"Touching story of unexpected love and fortune"
I very much enjoyed this having not come across it previously but having read FHB's other books as a child. It had the same delicate touch and empathy with the characters protagonist and antagonists. Whilst drawing the reader into the story with unexpected twists and turns, it focuses on the very gentle love and life of a very kind and sweet lady, and you root for her all the way.
"observational and melodramatic"
This book (or rather books as it's two combined) are an odd mixture. There is what I might describe as observational comedy. The author is quite wry about the intelligence of her protagonists and generally describes Emily as childlike.
She is also very frank about the precarious position of women in society. Emily is of good family, but has to earn her own keep in a genteel way. She is rather unimaginative, so is able to be quite cheerful about this, but when she receives a knock that will take away the one real comfort in her life she realises how dependent she is on knowing she has that comfort.
Another character in the first part of the book is under huge pressure to find a husband in a short space of time and her duty to her family to do so is emphasised in daily letters.
Both these women simply see this as their role in life, but it is clear the author is as not accepting.
The second section is quite patchy. It is melodramatic, but I don't feel the melodrama works well - I couldn't wallow in it and it seems to go by fits and starts, rather than building to a climax.
Interspersed with the melodrama there is more observation. Again a woman who felt the need to marry because of security, but it did not work for her. We are also shown the build up of tension as people find themselves drawn more and more into the path of wrongdoing, because they can't the face the thought of losing what they have currently and might have in future. It's clear that but for their situation they might have carried on as they were, in an unhappy marriage, but would probably have gone no further. In fact for a long time I was not certain which way Hester would go.
What leaves rather a bad taste, but would be indicative of the time the book was written is the attitude to Indians, though even there a couple of characters confess their difficulty in liking an Indian woman, as they know they should make an effort to do so.
The book is well narrated, with characters' voices coming through well.
What a joy to listen to Lucy Scott read this story. I wasn't familiar with the book and was delighted to make the discovery.
I tried more than once but I just couldn't get into the story. It seemed so sugary and with no proper depth to the plot.
Lucy Scott has done a lovely job with the voices, but I just couldn't warm to any of the characters.
By chapter 5 I had to give up as it just didn't hold my interest.
If you like Nancy Mitford or Georgette Heyer you will love this! It is both romance and thriller.
"A tale of two halves *PLOT SPOILER*"
The first part of this book is delicious, sumptuous, exactly what historical fiction (that written a while ago) should be. Beautiful writing, lovely description and lush use of words. I wanted to eat it. But then after she gets married, the tone changes entirely. I had read/listened to almost half the book before realising I had watched an adaptation on TV a couple of years ago, called the Making of a Lady, which I hadn't enjoyed. However the TV was not loyal to the book; the book is actually much better. But the 2nd half where Emily's life is being threatened by her newly acquired relatives, has a menacing overtone which is not really in keeping with the first part, you were not really expecting this outcome to what starts as a very gentle piece of fiction. Then it ends with her nearly dying, another curve ball. However well written, and gripping to the end. Lucy Scott is always a fantastic narrator, and puts on different voices perfectly, making some people extremely humorous. 10/10 for Lucy
"A tale in 2 halves"
I loved Frances Hodgson Burnett as a child, but hadn't realised she had written adult fiction too, so when I found this I was prepared for a treat.
Initially, it seems like a straightforward glimpse into the life of a well-bred woman who was making the best of having to earn a living in as genteel way as she can. She makes a marriage of convenience and settles down to her new station. We see also the desperation of other women, whose families depend on them to make a good marriage, and the unhappiness a forced marriage can bring. So far so good. A gentle story, easy to listen to, without surprises.
The second half, however gradually develops a sense of menace with the introduction of some distant relatives of her husband. She, in her innocence can't see the danger as others do . .
Lucy Scott is an excellent narrator and does a superb job.
I thoroughly enjoyed this and it is one I would happily listen to again.
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