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Anna and Her Daughters by D. E. Stevenson
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Anna and Her Daughters (1958)

by D. E. Stevenson

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I anticipated this book to be overly sappy. The quick and dirty review: A widowed mother brings her three near-adult daughters home to Scotland after learning she can no longer afford high society London. Her daughters couldn't be more different from each other and yet all three Harcourt sisters fall in love with the same man...cue the violins and weepy music.
Now for the long version:
Told from the first person perspective of youngest daughter, Jane, life turns upside down when mother decides to leave London and return to her pre-marriage home of Ryddelton, Scotland. Gone are the dreams of going to Oxford for an education. But Jane, not being as pretty nor outgoing as her sisters (as mentioned way too many times), soon meets Mrs. Millard and learns she is capable of becoming a successful (and published) author. Her dreams are only overshadowed by her eldest sister, Helen, when she wins the affections of the man whom with all three sisters fall in love. Of course the prettiest sister wins the boy, but not all is lost. It's not really a spoiler alert to say all four Harcourt women (mother Anna included) find their way to some kind of romance.
Jane is a wonderful character. Caring and considerate, she demonstrates perfect manners no matter the situation. I found myself admiring her for her attitude. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Jul 25, 2017 |
A quaint little old-fashioned novel. Jane, the narrator, moves with her mother and sisters from London to a small town in Scotland after their father dies and leaves them unprovided for. Her sister Helen steals a boyfriend from the other sister, Rosalie, the same man that Jane herself liked very much, and complications ensue. While I enjoyed the novel, in retrospect I’m annoyed by the free pass given to Ronnie for his abandonment of Rosalie and kowtowing to Helen, while Helen is made so clearly to be the villain. ( )
  jholcomb | Jul 12, 2013 |
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Gerald Harcourt was a shadowy figure to his family, a tall, grey, solemn man who took little interest in their affairs. He was the director of several important companies in the City of London and highly respected by all who came in contact with him. Mr Harcourt's life had always run smoothly; there was nothing dramatic about it, but his sudden death which took place at a Board Meeting was a very dramatic occurrence and had even more dramatic effects.
There had never been any lack of money in the Harcourt family and for many years they had lived in the same large house. Anna Harcourt and her daughters had enjoyed the gaieties of London, they had gone to parties and entertained their friends and they had imagined that this sort of life would go on for ever - but now everything changed and they were faced with an alarming situation. There was no money left. The fine old London house must be sold and the girls must find work. The sudden change of fortune revealed surprising defects and qualities in the characters of the people concerned.
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