Books with Mrs or Miss in the title

What on earth accounts for the popularity of posts on Bookword blog, reviews of novels with Mrs or Miss in the title? Perhaps these books sell better as well. I can see no particular connection, except that nearly all the books I mention are by women. But then I tend to read more books by women than men. Perhaps you can find some connections?

Here are some brief notes and links to any posts on Bookword.

Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor (1971)

This novel has always been one of the most popular in the older women in fiction series. It concerns a widow with a neglectful family who becomes a resident at the Claremont Hotel in London. She feels the need to impress the other residents and so invites a young acquaintance to pretend to be her nephew. The pains of old age are deftly drawn as the story reaches its conclusion. You can find the longer review here.

Mrs Dalloway in Bond Street by Virginia Woolf (1922)

This is actually a short story, an early experiment in stream of consciousness, a technique to convey the layers, textures, and loops of consciousness experienced by Clarissa Dalloway. She leaves her house, meets an old friend, remembers the death of another, notices the other people in Bond Street and enters the glove shop. The post about the short story can be found here.

Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, first edition via WikiCommons

Mrs Dalloway appeared three times in Virginia Woolf’s writing: this short story, the novel that bears her name in 1925 and in her early novel The Voyage Out (review can be found here).

Miss Ranskill Comes Home byBarbara Euphan Todd (1946)

This is a Rip Van Winkle story by the creator of Worzel Gummage. Miss Ranskill returns home to find Britain in the middle of World War Two. She is startled by significant changes, in topics of conversation and vocabulary, the necessity of coupons to buy clothes and food, the need for blackout and the daily concerns of middle class women. Readers were being invited to look again at things they took for granted and to reassess their reactions and their values. You can read more about this novel here.

Miss Mole by EH Young (1930)

Miss Mole is an unlikely heroine, especially for the 1930s. She is not very young, pretty, innocent or socially well placed. She seems to delight in being less than straightforward. She takes on the housekeeping for a difficult family and helps them all. The novel is concerned with the nature of morality and the contrast between received morality, socially accepted behaviour and Miss Mole’s true morality. The review can be found here.

And you might also like …

Miss Pettigrew lives for a Day by Winifred Watson (1938)

Published by Persephone Books this charming Cinderella story takes a governess of restricted experience and plunges her into the high life in London as the right hand woman for a nightclub singer, Miss La Fosse. I do not know of anyone who read this book and who had a bad reaction to it.

There are also books with Mr in the title

Mr Loverman by Bernardine Evaristo

Mr Darwin’s Gardener by Kristina Carlson and translated by Fleur Jeremiah and Emily Jeremiah

Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl

Mr Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith

Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones

The Mr Men series by Roger Hargreaves

And no doubt you can think of many more books with Mrs, Miss or Mt in the title, including some to recommend.

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Filed under Books, Elizabeth Taylor's novels, Older women in fiction, Reading, Reviews, Virginia Woolf

10 Responses to Books with Mrs or Miss in the title

  1. I’ve posted about Evan S. Connell’s superb novels Mrs Bridge, with its slightly less impressive sequel Mr Bridge. I suppose Madame Bovary fits the category, too!

    • Caroline

      I dont know Mrs Bridges at all so I will have to check out that novel. Thank you.
      And yes, Madame Bovary counts. (As dos Mrs Miniver, who I also forgot).

      Thanks, Caroline

  2. What a great idea for a post! And clearly I am drawn to this sort of book, as I have read and loved all your Miss and Mrs titles. AND my favourite novel, Miss Hargreaves, fits squarely in this category too 🙂

  3. Love Mrs Palfrey and Miss Pettigrew, two of my favourite reads in recent years. Have you read Mrs Bridge by Evan S. Connell? If not, I think you’d appreciate it. There’s also a companion piece, Mr Bridge, to continue the theme.

    • Caroline

      You are the second person to recommend Mrs Bridges, so I will have to read her. Thank you.

      Mrs Palfrey is one of the most sensitively drawn older women I think. Really enjoy that and Miss Pettigrew.

  4. Bess

    Thanks for these titles. I have also enjoyed Miss Mackenzie by Anthony Trollope, and Miss Bishop by Bess Streeter Aldrich.

    • Caroline

      Thanks for these suggestions Bess. I don’t know either of them. Are these recommendations?
      I have just read Mrs Caliban by Rachel Ingalls.

  5. Read Mrs Bridge if you need to blow off steam..a really silly woman with an unbearable husband.Weirdly,the most sympathetic character their adolescent son who may be an early sociopath.I can read it only in small bits.

    The Seduction of Mrs Pendlebury..Margaret Forster(also suitable for Older Women list)

    • Caroline

      Hi Pat, thanks for these suggestions. Another reader suggested I look at Mrs Bridge, and I reviewed her on this blog in December 2018. You can find that post here:

      I note your other suggestion as well.


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