“It’s unbelievable that the author of these charming tales is unknown to the reading public.” – James Havers
Five quite different romances published in the 1890s by my great-grandmother, reissued in book form for the first time. Nicola Nickleby wrote a number of surprisingly effective stories for popular magazines of the day, as well as the ‘advanced’ and, for its time, shocking novel We Never Shall Marry (which Prospero will publish in 2015).
Each story comes with original Victorian illustrations. As well as an Introduction by me, the collection contains:
A Song Without Words: Which of Mrs Arnott’s two sons will Jane marry? Herbert becomes engaged to her but, as was often the case in the 19th century, cannot marry immediately but has to first spend a long time abroad, leaving Edith under the watchful eye of his mother and his brother Matthew.
Penelope’s Prince: The children are worried about their cousin Penelope, who seems dreadfully ill. What can be the matter? Consumption – that awful, fatal disease – may be the reason Penelope is so pale, but no one says so. To speak of it might bring it. But is it consumption? Might there be another reason?
The Old Manor House: After many years Jeanette returns to the house she last knew as a child. When told the sad story of two sisters who each loved a young painter, Mr Harcourt, the tale strikes a chord. Might the sad old story still have a surprise in store?
The Rescue: What better tale to be told at Christmas? Out in the snowdrifts on the wild moor a child’s cry is heard – but was it a child, or was it merely an abandoned sheep? Sentimental, yes, yet oddly pleasing.
The Last Chance: Two tongue-tied lovers meet on a train – but can either of them tell the other what lies in their heart?