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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I was initially attracted to this book because I loved her other books, like Little Lord Fauntleroy, as a child. My initial reaction to this book was that is was a very sweet love story. It has a similar feel as Hodgson-Burnett's most well-known novel, The Secret Garden. But personally, I started to get bored with the book towards the end. Furthermore, it is very reflective of the contemporary racial attitudes. The depiction of "blacks" and "natives" (words used for Indians) was sometimes difficult to listen to. The references here seemed far more sinister than they did in The Secret Garden. Nonetheless, if you can get past this and perhaps enjoyed her books as a child you may truly enjoy this novel.
There was nothing wrong with the reading of this story and I know that one can't expect the best from writers of the late 19th century. But this one was really horribly racist. It left me with a very bad taste.
"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
"No wonder Nancy Mitfords favourite novel!"
Very different take on period novel
The tension is taught at all times and you feel immersed in the harrowing story.
I found the narrator's performance excellent only complaint I am suffering from lack of sleep, addicted to the story.
In the world we live in today this book is compulsively beautiful in the heroine's love for others.
"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.
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