Saturday, July 9, 2022

"Anna and Her Daughters" by D.E. Stevenson

This summer, my D.E. Stevenson fan group will be reading and discussing "Anna and Her Daughters," published in 1958. Our discussion begins on Monday, July 11th. 

While you might assume from the title that Anna is the main character in the book, the novel is actually narrated by the youngest of her three daughters, Jane. I liked Jane's voice here very much, albeit she seemed very mature and articulate for a 17-year-old, lol.  

The opening pages dive into the action with very little preamble: 40-year-old Anna Harcourt and her three daughters -- beautiful, spoiled and selfish would-be debutante Helen; middle sister Rosalie, who has always lived in Helen's shadow; and brainy youngest sister Jane, who is planning to head to Oxford -- have always lived a very comfortable, free-spending life in a big house on Wintringham Square in London (the setting for several other DES novels). But their husband/father recently and very suddenly died, leaving them with no income and very little savings. Brother-in-law/Uncle Leonard urges them to downsize to a small flat and find jobs -- but Anna resolves instead to sell the house and return to Ryddelton, her hometown in Scotland (and the location of several other DES books -- and there are several nods made to those other stories and characters), where they can buy a small house and live more cheaply.  

And then tall, dark, handsome Ronnie Ferguson enters their lives. 

As I said, I enjoyed Jane's narrative voice, and the story of the three very different sisters (as well as their mother). To me (I have a younger sister), the sibling relationships and rivalries rang very true. About halfway through, there was a plot twist, and it felt like everything was going to wrap up nicely -- but (like life), the story just kept going -- and then there was another twist (a few of them, actually!) -- and then suddenly everything wrapped up (perhaps a little too suddenly and neatly) and it was the end. If there's one consistent fault with DES's books, it's that too many of them end rather abruptly. (And I'll admit that a few of the machinations that it took to get to the end of this one didn't sit quite right with me... I can't say much more without revealing some massive spoilers!  lol)  Still, she does always leave me wanting more...!  

3 stars on Goodreads.  I will count this book as a re-read when we are finished our group discussion in late August. 

This was Book #31 read to date in 2022 (and Book #2 finished in July), bringing me to 69% of my 2022 Goodreads Reading Challenge goal of 45 books. I am (for the moment, anyway...!) 8 books ahead of schedule. :)  You can find reviews of all my books read to date in 2022 tagged as "2022 books."  

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