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Review: "A Humble Romance and Other Stories" by Mary E Wilkins Freeman

A Humble Romance and Other Stories is available for free download from our ebook catalog.

A Humble RomanceA Humble Romance, first published in 1887 to wide popularity, tells various stories of rural New England folks, mostly women. This collection catches you from its "humble" beginning. Each story is engrossing, yet surprising in its simplicity of characters and plot. Far from beautiful heiresses or men on panting steeds, the main characters are mostly old spinsters and sometimes a plain niece or two. The plot rarely goes beyond a long held grudge or--at the extreme--a woman left at the altar. But the stories pull you in from the start, as if you had known the characters all your life and are unavoidably invested in their fates.

Memorable from the first reading are the two wily sisters who run away from the nursing home. Then there's angry Mrs. Muzzy who's recent family tragedies make her decide not to celebrate Thanksgiving--a painful kitchen accident might persuade her otherwise. Another is the overbearing Mrs. Steele who means kindly, but her kindness might drive her poor friend to extremes. Finally steely Delia who is the woman left at the altar, however her story is much more about how she handles her situation in a most inspiring manner.

Reading this collection will make you wonder why we all don't know of Mary E Wilkins Freeman as we do Willa Cather or Edith Wharton. Each and every story is excellent--there is not one lacking among the bunch. Such consistency in writing makes one think that her other works must be just as good--and happily there is a lot. She wrote mostly short stories, but there is a novel here and there. It is a joy find such talent in a relatively unknown and unexplored author who will surely provide quality reading material through a lifetime of reading and re-readings.

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