Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Book Review: The Making Of A Marchioness

The Making Of A Marchioness by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Story: Emily Fox-Seton is a poor woman of good birth who works as a companion and assistant for various members of the upper class. Her chief employer is Lady Maria Bayne, who is both very selfish and very funny, although she does come to care for Emily. In a "Cinderella-like" ending, Emily eventually comes to marry a Marquis, Walderhurst, who is considerably older than her. The second portion, originally The Methods of Lady Walderhurst, continues on to show Emily having Walderhurst's child and his former heir, Alec Osborn, attempting to regain what he sees as his birthright.

Don't Judge A Book By It's Movie! This review will mostly focus on what an interesting book this is and how different it is from the ITV adaptation The Making Of A Lady (2012).

Firstly is the heroine, Emily Fox-Seton. She is the sweetest character and reminds me very much of Anne Elliot from Persuasion or Jane Bennet from Pride and Prejudice. She is always helping others and never complains, even when it requires her to walk several miles to town in pursuit of fish for her friend's dinner party. She puts others needs before her own so much that she doesn't even suspect that her future husband is really watching her and not the pretty socialite that she is trying to help catch his eye. In the film they made Emily out to be very shrewd and it didn't make sense to me that she would allow people like the Osbornes into her house when she could obviously tell that they wanted to kill her. In the book she is not a shrewd person at all, she is very kind and it is her kindness in trying to help the Osbornes that puts her life in danger. Like Jane Bennet, Emily always tries to see the best in people and only until she sees physical proof of the attempts on her life does she start to doubt that the Osbornes are good people.

Lady Maria Bayne isn't against the marriage of Emily to Lord Walderhurst. In the film Emily was sort of rude to Lady Maria and it sort of made perfect sense to me that Lady Maria would become estranged from them. In the book, Lady Maria not only approves of the match but she encourages it by helping Emily prepare for her new role as the marchioness! Lady Maria has a dry sense of humor and can be quite witty on occasion, and she is always Emily's friend.

Jane Cupp, Emily's maid is not seduced by Alec Osborne. It bothered me very much that in the film Emily's faithful companion is turned against her by Alec. It was lovely to know that the real Jane Cupp was loyal and protective of her mistress until the very end. She puts her own life in jeopardy in order to keep Emily and her unborn child safe. And she does not shoot Alec Osborne in self defense, he dies at the hands of someone else in another country.

Emily is not left helpless! In the movie, probably for dramatic effect, the servants leave Emily in the big mansion alone with the murderous Osbornes and she has no one to turn to and no way to get word to her husband. This always bothered me from the start because in a house that size there should be more than two servants and the house wasn't so far from town that the magistrate wouldn't get suspicious. In the book Emily has many servants around, Jane's mother even comes to stay and help with the pregnancy and Emily eventually makes some excuse to go to London and hides away there until the threat on her life is removed. She is not poisoned at all, her deathbed experience happens after the birth of her child when she almost gives up and the love of her husband is what calls her back to the land of the living.

Hester Osborne is generally a good character. Although Alec may persuade her to do some disreputable things, she never never plots with him to take Emily's life. Her servant does take some evil matters into her own hands but Hester never asks her to do those things. Hester does however dislike Emily for a longs time but eventually she comes back around and loves Emily as she deserves to be loved.

Overall: This is delightful book, full of light, kindness and true love. Emily Fox-Seton is a lovely character and worthy of being crowned a true literary heroine on the same footing as Elizabeth Bennet, Jane Eyre, Anne Shirley and Margaret Hale! The first part of the story is my favorite, but the second part isn't nearly so dark as portrayed in the film. I enjoyed listening to this book quite immensely and would recommend it to anyone who loves classic literature!


Hamlette said...

You're back!!!! It's so lovely to read a post on your blog again!

Homeschool Mom said...

My daughter and I read through The Secret Garden this past year, and I learned quite a bit about the author. This novel sounds interesting. Thanks for the post.

Birdie said...

That is really strange that the book can be sรณ different from the adaptation. But also good news, because I didn't really like the adaptation, but I do now want to write the book!

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