Sunday, February 04, 2007

Elswyth Thane's Tryst

In the past couple of weeks, this 1939 book was mentioned on someone's blog; just whose I can't remember! So, whoever it was, thank you! It sounded so interesting that I quickly got it through interlibrary loan, and read it in two days. As promised, it is a dashingly romantic ghost story.

Quick plot summary: Sabrina, at 17, goes to live with her aunt and her professor father in a rented country house called Nuns Farthing. She falls in love with an absent son of the house through exploring his books and belongings in his room at the top of the house.The absent occupant, Hilary Shenstone, is killed overseas on government business but his ghost returns home. They meet in this way, and so their love story concludes a bit unexpectedly. And listen to the first line, giving us our first indication of Sabrina's curiosity about Hilary's room, as well as her essential bookishness:

"Sabrina had never picked a lock in her life, but it was done every day in books."

I know from my current point of view I should find annoying the idea that Hilary is twice Sabrina's age, or the idea of the One True Soulmate (Sabrina is "born to marry Hilary") or the corollary that Sabrina's purpose in life is to marry Hilary, and that's about it. BUT. But, the novel is so delightful and period that I can forgive all that and simply revel in the bittersweet love affair between innnocent, bookish Sabrina and the dead Hilary. This is a keeper, one I'm going to have to track down so I can have it on my rereads shelf.


  1. This sounds really fun. I'll have to get myself off to the library!


  2. Waa! This sounds like a great book. I'm definitely going to try to find it in the library.

  3. Spurred on by your great review, I had this sent from another library in our consortium. I am looking forward to getting my hands on it!


Thanks for stopping by ~ I always enjoy hearing your comments so please feel free to leave some!