110. The Ladies of Missalonghi by Colleen McCullough (1987)
Length: 187 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Started: 14 November 2014
Finished: 18 November 2014
Where did it come from? My friend Noeleen got married in March of 2011, but before the wedding she needed to purge some of her books in the process of merging two households.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 11 April 2010
Why do I have it? I like historical fiction and Colleen McCullough is a new author for me.
Several years into the twentieth century, in the tiny town of Byron nestled somewhere in the Australian Blue Mountains, a shy spinster, her widowed mother and her crippled aunt live in genteel poverty. For thirty-three-year-old Missy Wright, her mother Drusilla and aunt Octavia, life is difficult living as the poor relations of the Hurlingford family - the most prominent family in Byron. Despite the Wrights being allowed to live at Missalonghi - Drusilla's home through marriage - the women are actually victims of the Hurlingford inheritance policy which allows only the male members of the family to inherit all the wealth. In turn, the men heartlessly abuse and dominate the women in their care.
Plain, painfully thin and doomed to dress always in serviceable brown, Missy has limited funds and suffers from periodic bouts of ill health. Her only consolation is her frequent trips to the privately owned lending library in town, where she indulges in her only vice - reading Gothic romance novels. Missy seems resigned to her fate, facing a dreary future until a distant cousin, a divorcée, arrives from Sydney...
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was a delightful little story, with a totally unexpected ending, at least for me. I do have a copy of Colleen McCullough's epic saga The Thorn Birds hidden somewhere on my bookshelf, but have never read it. That particular admission probably comes as quite a surprise to many people, but it is the truth: "I have not ever read The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough!"
However, reading The Ladies of Missalonghi is my first foray into Ms. McCullough's work, and it was a relatively quick and easy read for me. Engaging and rather quirky, I give The Ladies of Missalonghi by Colleen McCullough an A!
A! - (90-95%)
Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight