9780887766633 / 0887766633

Mable Riley: A Reliable Record of Humdrum, Peril, and Romance


Publisher:Tundra Books



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About the book:

The subtitle says it all. Mable Riley: A Reliable Record of Humdrum, Peril, and Romance guarantees young girls equal doses of kissing and adventure along with (yawn) a history lesson about daily life in small-town Ontario, circa 1901. Designed to look like a Victorian children's classic, this light-hearted historical novel purports to be the diary of 14-year-old Mable Riley, an aspiring authoress with a lively tongue and a propensity for getting into mischief. Sound familiar? Mable has Anne Shirley and Emily Starr written all over her, even if she does occasionally behave more like Lizzie McGuire.

As Mable's "Reliable Record" opens, she and her perfect older sister have just arrived at the Goodhand Farm in Sellerton, Perth County, where Viola will be taking up her position as new schoolmistress and Mable that of her assistant. Thrilled to be away from home for the first time, Mable immediately sets her cap for the handsome Brown twins and starts writing a serial romance novel (based on her experiences) for her best friend Hattie. Before long, however, she finds herself in the midst of a labour protest led by the eccentric Mrs. Rattle, a lady journalist and radical suffragette who dares to wear bloomers and has even less respect for fussy social conventions than Mable.

Mable Riley is a fun read--due in large measure to its ever-witty protagonist. While her frequent references to real historical events and descriptions of banal household chores (like milking and laundry) may seem slightly contrived, Mable's account of her feminist awakening (not to mention her first kiss) is bound to please devotees of Montgomery, Alcott, etc. --Lisa Alward

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