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The Mystery of Mrs Blencarrow [Paperback]

Mrs. Oliphant , Merryn Williams
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
RRP: 14.00
Price: 13.81 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

21 Oct 2010
Title: The Mystery of Mrs. Blencarrow. [A novel.]

Publisher: British Library, Historical Print Editions

The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom. It is one of the world's largest research libraries holding over 150 million items in all known languages and formats: books, journals, newspapers, sound recordings, patents, maps, stamps, prints and much more. Its collections include around 14 million books, along with substantial additional collections of manuscripts and historical items dating back as far as 300 BC.

The FICTION & PROSE LITERATURE collection includes books from the British Library digitised by Microsoft. The collection provides readers with a perspective of the world from some of the 18th and 19th century's most talented writers. Written for a range of audiences, these works are a treasure for any curious reader looking to see the world through the eyes of ages past. Beyond the main body of works the collection also includes song-books, comedy, and works of satire.

The below data was compiled from various identification fields in the bibliographic record of this title. This data is provided as an additional tool in helping to insure edition identification:

<Source Library> British Library
<Contributors> Oliphant, Mrs;
<Original Pub Date> 1890.].
<Physical Description> 186 p. ; 8º.
<Shelfmark> 012632.k.17.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Persephone Books Ltd (21 Oct 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1903155797
  • ISBN-13: 978-1903155790
  • Product Dimensions: 14.2 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,059,626 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting revival 30 Oct 2010
By bookelephant TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Fans of nineteenth century fiction will doubtless have heard of Mrs Oliphant, not least for the sheer number of her publications, but her works have not been widely published for some time. Persephone here offers two novellas: "The Mystery of Mrs Blencarrow" and "Queen Eleanor and Fair Rosamund" as an interesting sample of her work.
The two pieces are similar in that they have notional mysteries at their centre - though in truth you would have to be very slow on the uptake not to see the solutions coming. Also they are about women whose focus is on their children to the exclusion of their husbands - a point close to Mrs Oliphant's heart, as a woman who married a feckless husband and supported him and then after his early death, their children. Both also interestingly concern Victorian moral issues which would then ruin the families by sheer association, and about which no-one would give much second thought today (SPOILER ALERT: remarriage after a spouse's death and a midlife crisis affair). And if you are wondering: no, the second one is NOT a historical novella - the title is because of a coincidence of names and circumstances.
Aside from this period piece thrill, and some Mary Elizabeth Braddon-esque suspense writing, the pleasure in both is in the depiction of the strong female central characters (the others are very sketchily drawn), and the places, which really do spring into being off the page.
So, the verdict? Well, there are distinct similarities to Trollope in places - the phrasing and tone might occasionally be his. Similar also is her penchant for strong women in crisis mode. But more often I was reminded of Braddon - a sensationalism, a touch of vulgarity of which Trollope would never be guilty (well almost never!). Interesting? yes. Worth reading? Yes.
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