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The Making of a Marchioness (Persephone…
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The Making of a Marchioness (Persephone Book) (original 1901; edition 2009)

by Frances Hodgson Burnett

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313None35,464 (3.77)12
Member:LadyMuck
Title:The Making of a Marchioness (Persephone Book)
Authors:Frances Hodgson Burnett
Info:Persephone Books Ltd (2009), Paperback, 328 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
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The Making of a Marchioness/The Methods of Lady Walderhurst by Frances Hodgson Burnett (1901)

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» See also 12 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
This is a queer, strange little book. I was eager to read this because, like many people, I adore Burnett's Children's book. This book, of course, was to be more serious and adult. However, I was neither a sentimental romance or a melodrama commenting on marriage - but a strange mix of the two. At time I enjoyed it, and then, I would hate it. I'm still not certain how I feel about it. The ending was abrupt and odd and startling. It felt like it should have come on, but it didn't. I'm not sure I would recommend this book. ( )
  empress8411 | Feb 16, 2014 |
Short novella The Making of a Marchioness is a very good Cinderella-type story (5 stars). The sequel, The Methods of Lady Walderhurst, has a rather uneven plot, but I still really enjoyed it (4 stars). ( )
  kathleen586 | Mar 29, 2013 |
If you enjoy comfort books then you'll love this one. It's a bit of fairy tale for adults, Emily Fox- Seton, the main character is so sweet and helpful to others that she should really be a bit of a pain but somehow she isn't. It has been described as a hot water bottle of a book, so a good book for a bad day. It's available on Project Gutenberg under the title Emily Fox-Seton - I think.
  PiningfortheWest | Nov 16, 2012 |
This book went by quickly, like many other Persephone books that I’ve read. The prose flowed pretty well and the plot kept me reading. However, I thought there were times when the story dipped into sentimentality and a stereotypical Indian character played a large part in the latter half of the book. The first part of the book is a Cinderella story, the second part is an almost Gothic melodrama.

At the beginning of the book, Emily Fox-Seton is a well-born and well-educated no-longer-young woman who must work for a living. She runs errands for and organizes the lives of members of the aristocracy and others and must maintain her genteel appearance on a small income. Emily could be a bit much at times, with her enthusiasm manifested in an overuse of italics. However, I thought she was interesting because she differed from a number of other poor heroines who eventually get married. She wasn’t an intelligent, introverted plain Jane or a gorgeous and witty girl whose only barrier to marriage is a lack of fortune. At the same time, though, she wasn’t dull – in fact, her optimism and enthusiasm tended to make others pleasant and gregarious. Also, Emily has a rather dated but appropriate for the time view of marriage – it’s mainly something that will support a woman and is generally obtained by being beautiful, though being charming and witty helps. Romance is not something she thinks about and she’s not a woman who will stubbornly hold out for the right man, but rather than one who is decent and there.

Emily is invited to help Lady Maria Bayne entertain at her country house and settles into a lady-of-all-work role while Lady Maria’s cousin, the much sought-after Marquis of Walderhurst, seems to waffle between two eligible women, beautiful, sweet Lady Agatha – whose exalted social position and lack of money means she must marry soon or be pushed aside for her younger sisters – and a sharp, sparkling American heiress.

The marquis chooses Emily, but has very unromantic reasons for doing so, which was rather refreshing. He partly wants to spite his good-for-nothing heir and wants to choose a woman who will not require much fussing – Emily certainly fits the bill. It’s not an ecstatic happily-ever-after, love-at-first-sight end, but it might as well be given Emily’s grateful reaction.

In the second half, Emily is now the Marquise of Walderhurst, but is menaced by the displaced heir of the title, his Indian-born Anglo wife, and her Indian maid. There were some annoying stereotypes in this portion – the displaced, violent man and the Indian woman who is emotional but not rational, a nursemaid to the Anglo woman, and almost “magic” – able to heal and kill. Emily also becomes increasingly dependent and helpless in the second half, culminating with another too-sentimental penultimate scene, where her martyr behavior is at an extreme. A fast and engrossing read, but some irritations. ( )
2 vote DieFledermaus | Dec 31, 2011 |
Emily Fox-Seton is a single, well bred woman of 35, with some education but absolutely no money. She lives in one room of a boarding house, and with the help of the daughter of the house, is able to work her limited wardrobe as best they can.

She therefore works for a living, surviving by running errands for various wealthy people around London. When one of her employers invites her for a summer holiday at a country estate, Emily is ecstatically grateful and accepts. One of the guests is the Marquis of Walderhurst, an older, very rich but not someone Emily considers to be particularly attractive. With three younger, more attractive (but not necessarily richer) single women in the house party, there is immense speculation as to who the Marquis is going to select as his second wife (his first wife having died not long after giving birth to the now dead first child).

To her surprise the Marquis (he's in his late 50s) proposes and they are married. Soon afterwards the Osborns - the heir presumptive to the Marquis' title and estate if he hadnt married again with another chance of having an heir - returns to England with his pregnant wife. Emily, being a naive innocent women, befriends both of them and Hester in particular.

Emily realises she is pregnant when Edward is away on business in India, and it takes a while for others to realise that the Osborns wish her and her unborn baby harm. She escapes to London where she is protected. She gives birth to the wanted boy but is on her death bed when Edward returns from India (he's been ill himself and Emily has been warned not to tell of the prengancy).

It later transpires that the Osborns have had a girl (who would never have inherited no matter what happened with Emily), and that Alec had died after "accidentally" shooting himself in the head whilst drunk.

This book is a surprise in several different ways. First that Burnett had written a book for adults, as she is better known for writing for children. Second, that she has includes alcoholism and domestic abuse (in the Osborns). The last chapter in particular is not a "happily ever after" rather a "here's how an abusive husband has been managed and I have to live with the result".

The Marquis appears little in the story - it is primarily about her after all, and how people react to someone who is essentially good and innocent (a desire to protect and look after being the uppermost wants). The only people who want to damage her really are The Osborns - Alec because he is a drunk who sees his escape from debts and India being taken away from him by this healthy decent woman, Hester because she's scared of Alec and Hester's amah because she'll do anything for her mistress.

As a reader Emily not an annoying character - Burnett travels a fine line between an attractive innocent and someone you want to shake to bring her to her senses.

If compared to "The secret Garden", "marchioness" is a more subtle, less "playing outside is good for you" patronising - although Emily does have a favourite place outside away from everyone and beside a quiet pool, where she gets to mediate, so there is a certain amount of showing Burnett's interest in gardening. ( )
  nordie | Aug 31, 2011 |
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When Miss Fox-Seton descended from the two-penny 'bus as it drew up, she gathered her trim tailor-made skirt about her with neatness and decorum, being well used to getting in and out of two-penny 'buses and to making her way across muddy London streets.
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The Persephone edition entitled The Making of a Marchioness (ISBN 9781903155141, 1903155142 and 1906462127) contains both The Making of a Marchioness and its sequel, The Methods of Lady Walderhurst and should not be combined with either single work.
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A two-part adult Cinderella tale, Emily Fox-Seton, a poor, distant descendant of aristocracy, accepts a serving position in one of their garden estates, where she is surprised to receive the attentions of the rich, eligible Marquis of Walderhurst.

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