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 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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