Reads: Mariana-Monica Dickens

About Persephone Books
Persephone, a publisher located in London, reprints works written mainly by women in the 20th century. The majority of the women are English. The books are all cloaked in a dove grey cover with a colorful ‘fabric’ lining inside the front and back cover. The linings are selected to correspond with the subject or story line of the book. Each new book comes with a matching bookmark. Persephone has also begun to reprint a few of their most popular books. These they call classics. The covers are colorful art reproductions. The classics are the easiest to find here in the US. A few more are set to be released later this year. Included in the lineup of 83 books are fiction, non-fiction, short stories, cookbooks, science fiction, and other topics.

How I met Persephone
Browsing through LT…I’m always interested in stuff by and about women and the folks that read Persephone there are a very enthusiastic crowd.

Mariana-My Introduction to Persephone
Mariana is the story of a young girl growing up in England. When we meet her she has just heard on the radio that her husband’s ship has gone down at sea. She then begins to recount the events in her life. From school girl follies with her cousin Denys, riding horses, her upbring by her mother and actor uncle, and vacationing at the Charbury home. We follow Mary through an actor’s school in which she is pretty bad, and dressmaking and fashion design where she meets a young Frenchman who sweeps her off her feet…almost… and is later swept away by a less extravagant young man named Sam.

This coming of age story was enjoyable. I wasn’t sure how I would react to the flowery descriptions that I feel are always present in books written during this time. I did find that it was nice to read a story free of doom and gloom and at the same time to see that characters during this time could be human. Here was a girl who was not always prim, proper, and excelling at every venture. She struggled, she made nasty comments about people (this may just be a class issue during that time), and generally seemed to be unlikable. Mary even gets a school report saying so. To me, this is perfect. I always enjoy sassy adolescent girls and young women who seem to always be just beyond the reach of what others think they should be.

Mariana-Monica Dickens


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