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Laura McDonald

Laura McDonald is a web developer by trade who enjoys long walks on the moors--er--hills of Central Texas. She is Girlebooks' founder and site administrator. Laura's literary preferences include Jane Austen, the Brontes, epistolary novels, and travelogues.

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Review: "Emily Fox-Seton" by Frances Hodgson Burnett


First published in 1901 as The Making of a Marchioness followed by its sequel The Methods of Lady Walderhurst, the two novels were combined into Emily Fox-Seton who is the two works’ primary character. The story follows thirty-something Emily who lives alone, humbly and happily, in a tiny apartment and on a meager income. She is the one that everyone counts on but no one goes out of their way to accommodate. Her fortune changes, however, and the second half chronicles her adaptation to her new life and the dangers that arise from those who stand to lose most from her new circumstances. Continue reading .

Review: "Camilla" by Fanny Burney


First published in 1796, Burney’s third novel revolves around the economic and matrimonial concerns of Camilla Tyrold and her close family. The story takes us through many hardships in the Tyrold family, most caused by misunderstandings, on the path to true love and solvency. After a slow start, once all the characters are introduced and start to interact, Burney weaves a captivating story. If you have enjoyed Evelina and Cecilia and are hungering for more Burney, Camilla will satisfy you. You also will be satisfied if you are a Jane Austen fan and are curious about her influences. Continue reading .

Review: "Adam Bede" by George Eliot


First published in 1859, Adam Bede is set in the rural farming community of Hayslope in 1799. The plot centers around four characters and the entangling relationships amongst them. The titular character is a well-respected young carpenter who is in love with the pretty Hetty Sorrel. Hetty in turn is in love with the rich Arthur Donithorne who returns her feelings but has no honorable intentions. Dinah Morris, Hetty’s cousin and a Methodist preacher, is introduced early on and becomes a pivotal character near the end of the novel. Continue reading .

Review: "The Frog Prince's Daughters" by Wendy Palmer


Anura Bufonida is a fairytale princess waiting for her prince to claim her. Anura is sure of her happy ending, being a descendant of the Frog Prince whose curse was broken long ago when he was kissed by his princess. Rana, who has not had so happy a family history, is her loyal cousin and best friend. One day, not long after Anura’s sixteenth birthday, a wizard appears, set on rendering the beautiful princess to ashes. He fails. What does this mean? Is Anura not to have her happy ending? Where is the prince who is supposed to save her? Is something is intrinsically wrong in the fairytale Domain? If the happy ending Imperative is broken, who will fix it? Continue reading .

Review: "Shirley" by Charlotte Brontë


Originally published in 1849, Shirley is the only of Charlotte Brontë’s novels to be set in a historical period before the novel was written. It takes place in Yorkshire, England during 1811–1812 in the midst of an industrial depression resulting from the Napoleonic wars. The story revolves around two heroines, Caroline Helstone and Shirley Keeldar, and their relationships with the Moore brothers. For those who enjoy novels with a bit of social history thrown in, such as works by George Eliot and Elizabeth Gaskell, then Shirley will definitely satisfy. Continue reading .

Review: "Daddy Long Legs" by Jean Webster


Comprised mostly of letters from orphan Jerusha “Judy” Abbott to her anonymous benefactor whom she has never met, this novel chronicles Judy’s departure from the orphanage through four years of college. Her high spirits get her through many trials, and by the end she turns out a mature (yet energetic) young woman who gets her happy ending. Continue reading .

"Radium Halos" now in print, ebook on sale

Girlebooks has launched a sister site,, dedicated to publishing some of our ebooks to print. Our first two print publications are Radium Halos by Shelley Stout and Christine by Elizabeth von Arnim (under the pseudonym Alice Cholmondeley).

For a limited time, the ebook of Radium Halos is on sale at the super low price of $1.00! Continue reading .

"Travels in West Africa" by Mary Kingsley

In 1893, Mary Kingsley went alone to West Africa. She traveled to remote areas crawling with cannibal tribes, some of which had never been visited by a white man, much less a white woman. Some would say surprisingly, she lived to come home and documented what she learned and experienced in this fascinating book. As a historical piece, Travels in West Africa is a must-read for anyone remotely interested in the history of West Africa, particularly at this period of encroaching European influence. As a travel book, it is amazing for the fact that this woman did what she did. Continue reading .

"Agnes Grey" by Anne Brontë

First published in 1847, Agnes Grey was Anne Brontë’s first novel and thought to be her most autobiographical. It is the story a young woman who works as a governess to help support her family. Through the course of the novel she is employed in two different families, however her experiences of dealing with spoiled and ignorant children (and employers) is similar in both households. This is a short novel, flawlessly written, and brazenly simple. There are no monsters, castles, or plot twists lurking in dark corners. It is, however, a novel you can’t put down until you know Agnes is safe and happy. Continue reading .

"The White Ladies of Worcester" by Florence Barclay

It is the 12th century in the city of Worcester, England. At the Nunnery of the White Ladies, old lay-sister Mary Antony performs her daily ritual. As the nuns return from Vespers through the underground passage into the cloisters, she counts them in her unique way–dropping one pea for each nun from her hand into a bag. Today the count is different. Today the nuns pass, all the peas drop into the bag, and then one more nun passes by… Continue reading .

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