Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Miss Mole (Young)

I am definitely a big fan of EH Young, and have now hugely enjoyed four of the eight novels that she wrote, all of which have been published as Virago Modern Classics. In some ways she seems to be a bit of a more modern Jane Austen, or perhaps a slightly less acerbic Barbara Pym. Anyway, she is someone that I recommend, and a good book to start with might be Miss Mole which was apparently the best recieved of all of her books and which won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize.

Miss Mole is the tale of Hannah, a 40-year-old spinster who has ended up in service. We meet her telling her well-to-do Cousin Lilla that she is looking for employment; it transpires that she has upset her last employers. Lilla sets her up with employment in the Corder household; Rev. Corder is recently widowed and the house is in somewhat shambles; Ethel and Ruth, the daughters of the household are lost without their mother. Hannah simply carries out her duties, but wins over Ethel and Ruth and gradually sorts them out, but not without adding a spark of life to the family. It's a simple, almost Mary Poppins like story, but incredibly well told and quirky.

Published twice by Virago, I'm lucky enough to have a lovely clean copy of the original green edition whose picture seems to sum up the idiosyncratic image of Miss Mole. 4*

PS: Simon from Stuck in a book wrote an excellent review of this title in February here.


  1. I definitely intend to read more E.H.Young this year after reading the Misses Mallett - I have Miss Mole (original green copy but slightly dog-earred!) and Jenny Wren on my shelf. And your review makes me even more keen to read them soon!

  2. Alison - thanks for the comment! I guess you should probably start with Jenny Wren, which I really must read! Enjoy!

  3. This sounds like a modern-day fairly tale - charming but with an edge. Must read more E H Young. She does look rather severe in the top cover but wears her feather hat with aplomb!

    Jeanne x