Monday, March 25, 2013

Book Review: Phoebe Deane (1909)

Phoebe Deane. Grace Livingston Hill. 1909. 224 pages.

Did I enjoy reading Phoebe Deane? Yes and no. Grace Livingston Hill manages to get me worried about the fate of the characters, manages to keep me reading. But. Part of me knows that a happy ending is always assured. Part of me feels silly to "worry" about what is going to happen next!

In Phoebe Deane, readers meet a young orphaned woman, Phoebe Deane, who is living with her half-brother and his family. (Her sister-in-law is AWFUL; so awful I can't find one positive thing to say about her! Because Phoebe is always being put down and insulted by this woman, Emmaline, the children know they can get away with it too.) So long as Phoebe accepts her calling to serve and submit without hesitation or complaint, the sister-in-law is content to "allow" her to exist in the same house. She has a plan for Phoebe. She wants Phoebe to marry Hiram Green, a neighboring widower. Hiram Green is OBSESSED with Phoebe. His obsession isn't healthy--for himself, for his children, for Phoebe. He follows her everywhere. He goes to the post office and asks for her mail. He takes some of her mail and opens it before destroying it. He's a despicable villain. He just can't understand why Phoebe isn't saying yes. He's determined that she WILL say yes. He will scheme and manipulate until she has no other option. How far will he go?

There is a hero in Phoebe Deane. Phoebe is walking on her birthday when she meets a man in the woods. His name is Nathaniel Graham....

Unfortunately, he is only visiting so readers don't get a chance to really know him as well as we might like. But. He is interested--very interested--in Phoebe. And he wants to write her! So there is great potential that this will turn into happily ever after...

Phoebe's best friend and ALLY is Miranda a character first introduced in Marcia Schuyler.

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