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Friday, May 2, 2014

The Head of the House of Coombe by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Head of the House of Coombe

This is the only image I could find anywhere for this book and I did so wish I could have found a prettier one. The book which is very sad in parts is also a happy, uplifting one and this cover is morose!

Written in 1922 it is historically very descriptive, romantic, a family story as well. How well it combines three disparate genres so well is the cleverness of this author.

Robin is a baby in this story and our chief character but her mother Feather is a major part of the story. Today Feather would be accused of child abuse and punished accordingly. Although not criticized in the story, it is a matter of fact statement of events and how she treats this only child of hers. I only hope it was not the pattern for mothers of this era. Other than giving birth to the child she felt so detached from her, that it was almost alien to Feather to even look upon the child. Robin's father's very early demise and the arrival of the man known as Head of the House of Coombe was a godsend for young Robin and her salvation. What would have been Robin's plight if not for this man could not even be imagined.

We follow Robin from the time of her birth, through her babyhood and childhood to growing up to be a well balanced young lady. We follow the same path of her mother Feather from being a young widow without a thought in her head other than her own survival, to being a dependent and still continuing to be the same. A vacuous, vicious young woman. 

Very informative about the period pre WWI also a social commentary of the times (like the upstair downstairs workings which was fascinating) this was a find from Open Library.

For someone without access to books (freely) I am doing very well with Open Library.  All the genres I like are available and though you do have a waiting list for some of the books the choice is so varied that you can always find a book you want. 

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