Friday, March 17, 2017

What I Read in March 2016 Part III

What I Read in March 2016 Part III . . .

Miss MoleMiss Mole by E.H. Young--Historical Fiction/Classic

Miss Hannah Mole, a spinster of almost 40 years, has an abundance of imagination and spirit but a decided lack of money. She's forced to make a living hiring herself out as a companion to cranky old ladies or some other type of demeaning job. After a brief interlude at Mrs. Gibson's boarding house where she rescues a man from a suicide attempt and earns a cold shoulder from boarder Mr. Bleckinsop, she takes a place as housekeeper to Nonconformist minister Robert Corder. She disagrees with his severe black and white approach to morals and with the way he is raising his family. Hannah prefers the company of nephew Wilfred to her employer. She would leave but younger daughter Ruth, emotionally fragile and still reeling from the death of her mother, really needs Miss Mole's kindness and humor. Mr. Corder also wages his own battle with Mr. Bleckinsop, who wants to leave the chapel and with Mr. Pilgrim, a rival minister and mystery man from Hannah's past. When Hannah's past threatens to catch up to her, she makes plans to leave but can't bear to continue on as before. She has a dream of love and a home of her own despite a tainted past.

I have mixed feelings about Miss Mole. I liked/didn't like her sense of humor. I liked how it kept her sane and kept Ruth happy but I didn't like how she teased her wealthy cousin. She was also pert with Robert Corder, who is not a likable person, but he doesn't have the sense of humor to even understand her and it just makes him hate her. I also didn't like how she flaunted secret knowledge in his face. She felt bad about it, which is good. I didn't really see why her past was anyone else's business and why it would affect her present. I did like her enough to want her to be happy. She's a complicated character. I did like Ruth. I felt bad for her because her father was so awful and pompous. He didn't understand her and I gather that her mother did. The loss of her mother really affected Ruth and her father is not sympathetic. Miss Mole manages to get Ruth to come out of her shell a bit. Ruth's older sister Ethel is more like their father but she has a mind of her own and wants to get out of her father's house. She's not daring enough to be a real rebel and I found her irritating. Miss Mole's cousin Lilla was also a bit annoying. She's stuffy and snobby, without a sense of humor and everyone wants to please her. Mr. Samson was my favorite character and he was hardly in the book. I enjoyed his refreshing frankness and he reminded me of Mr. Harrison in Anne of Avonlea. Mr. Bleckinsop is confusing. He exhibits a lot of character growth without really being in the story much.

This story is told not quite stream of consciousness but it's mostly Hannah's internal thoughts and feelings. There's a little bit in the heads of the other characters. I found it confusing because Hannah doesn't tell the whole story of things that really happened and we get a lot of information after the fact. She talks about the Riddings and Mr. Pilgrim but we're not shown what happens with the Riddings. We don't get the full story about Mr. Pilgrim and only finally get the story of her "sordid" past.

This book wasn't really my cup of tea but it wasn't terrible either.

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