In the years before World War I in Byron, Australia, the males of the Hurlingford family hold all the power and money. Those Hurlingford women without a man due to spinsterhood or widowhood lead cramped lives of hard work and little money on scraps of land or in businesses that just barely support them. Thirty-something spinster Missy Wright leads a narrow existence on the wrong side of the tracks with her widowed mother Drusilla Hurlingford Wright and crippled aunt Octavia when Byron is consumed by two events, the upcoming wedding of Missy's beautiful cousin Alicia Marshall to William Hurlingford and the arrival of rough looking stranger named John Smith. With limited funds and suffering bouts of ill health, Missy's only consolation are her trips to the lending library where her distant cousin Una Hurlingford works. Una, a society beauty, has returned to Byron after a glamorous life in Sydney. Under Una's tutelage and bolstered by the romantic novels she sneaks home, Missy begins to dream of the world outside Byron and a better life for herself.
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View Book Info Page. Genre: Historical: Other , Romance. NB: We have a doozy of a book rant this Saturday, but after spending some quality time with family members, we might all be in need of letting out a little aggression. The Ladies of Missalonghi also sounds like a pretty good candidate for an intense hate read.
This particular book rant comes from author Marian Perera. Marian Perera lived in Sri Lanka, Dubai and Texas before settling in Toronto for now , where she runs medical laboratory analyzers at night and writes during the day. There is a trigger warning below, but in case you miss it: trigger warning for discussions of rape.
One of them, The Ladies of Missalonghi , was a pleasant romance, or at least I thought so at the time. I recently read it again. But first, trigger warning : discussion of rape ahead. Specifically, the discussion I wish the heroine would have had with the hero, right after she punched his lights out as a favor to women everywhere.
Missy Wright lives with her widowed mother and aunt in Missalonghi, a house outside the town of Byron. The three of them are poor relations of the family which owns the town, and Missy is a plain, thirtyish spinster. So far so good.
Then the romance kicks in. Instantly falling for him and inspired by a romance Una urged her to read, she marches into his home and proposes to him. Missy goes away and does something productive with her life. Oh wait, no. She marches back in the next day to propose again, and makes it clear she will keep doing this until he says yes. Proving his blanket generalization correct in her case, she smiles and parrots her question, at which point he collapses like a souffle and agrees.
I suppose the only way to advance the plot was to have him agree, and it might have been less believable if he attacked Missy, she hit him over the head with a log, he developed amnesia, and she convinced him he was her adoring husband? Spotting a potential escape route, he warns her that the honeymoon might start prematurely.
And he could be hard about it, not rape her exactly, just force her a little; a virgin of her age was bound to be easy to frighten. Be still, my heart. Or is that my stomach? Of course, she turns out to be amazing in bed, not to mention in the waterfall where they take their morning bath.
His reply? I have no idea what to think. Does he mean this as humor? But the worst is yet to come. Missy visits Una, who cheers her on in the matter of deceiving someone into marriage, and then goes to the registry office where she and John Smith are married.
Naturally, this woman is a complete caricature who mocked him, cheated on him, and smelled of sulfur. Missy asks if he and the Evil Ex whose name he never mentions, so wait for it had children.
She might have lost her figure. This happened on more than one occasion. He just needed sex—excuse me, to get his leg over. Sympathetic Missy can hardly believe her predecessor was so considerate as to die in an accident. They break the news of their marriage to her mother and aunt, and John Smith delivers some even better news. So he went from hating all women to being their fairy godfather. Una, you see, returned as a ghost so she could atone for the horrible things she did.
The Ladies of Missalonghi has been criticized for ripping off L. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. We also may use affiliate links in our posts, as well. The difference is that the heroine legitimately receives information that she has a heart condition and is going to die. At no point does she deliberately deceive the hero.
It sounds like a poor and disturbing knockoff. Thanks for the rant! That book sounds nutters! Nor does this post make me inclined to do so. Rachel: Never heard of the Pitcairn Island rapists before today… and I could have happily continued without that knowledge you know I Googled it, right? And that so many women end up going along with it accepting of the societal indoctrination just depresses me more. The hero and heroine genuinely like each other and the heroine uses the bad news to take control of her life.
My biggest problem with Ladies is the foundation of a relationship on an outright deception, which is endorsed at the end of the book as the only way to make the relationship work. I finally decided that McCullough must have wanted to make us feel uneasy, whereas L. Montgomery wanted to leave us feeling good. No—just no. I definitely thought of The Blue Castle when I saw that plot summary. You should all read it! Most women? All I remembered was Una maybe wearing red? Blue Castle is one of my favorite books of all time, and so when I read this travesty of a book I was deeply offended… it takes a lot of plot, but lost all of the charm.
I am confused. Are they the same person? Gloriamarie — Una the librarian is actually the ghost or something of Una the first wife. I thought they had to be the same person but never heard of a corporeal ghost before. I loved The Blue Castle. I got it for Christmas when I was 11 and read it in one sitting. I remember reading about the controversy concerning The Ladies of Missalonghi being a rip off and read it shortly after it was released.
One thing I will say for the McCullough book, however, is that, although Missy is ground down by poverty and being considered the ugly duckling in a large, attractive family, her mother and aunt do love her. Poor Valancy, in The Blue Castle , is roundly despised and ridiculed by her family except for one distant cousin.
But this book sounds even worse! What a terrific rant! They still chide me about it 30 yrs later. My cousin, through a bizarre coincidence, read Ladies and Blue Castle right next to each other. She said it was total plagiarism — even some of the dialogue was basically lifted, with some verbal abuse and a ghost, apparently thrown in. Sounds like Ladies is the goatee-wearing evil twin of Blue Castle , which is a lovely book. Ah, the romances we loved as teens. I have been lucky in that most of what I loved as a teenager either held up fairly well, or at least did not make me shudder years later.
Still do for the most part even though they do feel dated. The Thorn Birds has two major problems for me. The first is the whitewashing of Australia. The second is that Ralph, supposedly an intelligent and perceptive man, has unprotected sex multiple times with a young woman who loves him and wants children, yet he never even considers the possibility of pregnancy.
Then, years later, he sees her child and leaps to the completely unsupported conclusion that she went back to her estranged husband. This keeps them apart until the end. It felt extremely contrived. That said, The Thorn Birds is still a much better read than this book. McCollough pretty much admitted flat out that she plagiarised The Blue Castle.
What I get from it is a novel about a woman breaking free from the unrealistic expectations of her society and finding happiness for herself and those she cares about.
And Colleen McCullugh evokes the time and place beautifully. John Smith learns that not every woman is as bad as his first wife which is not entirely his exaggeration — Una admits that she was pretty terrible. The book is set in the early s. Attitudes to sex were different then.
Even in a marriage of convenience. But if he refused to do this, and I waited till he got drunk, took his debit card, and withdrew whatever I wanted from his personal account, this would be stealing.
Did it matter to him at all that he risked making Una pregnant? His children might have been raised by a selfish vicious mother who drank and slept around, and by a father who admitted to hating that mother. The atmosphere and descriptions are lively and vivid, though, and they paint a beautiful portrait of rural life. Your Website:. Notify me of follow-up comments via e-mail.
Sometimes fairy tales can come true--even for plain, shy spinsters like Missy Wright. Neither as pretty as cousin Alicia nor as domineering as mother Drusilla, she seems doomed to a quiet life of near poverty at Missalonghi, her family's pitifully small homestead in Australia's Blue Mountains. But it's a brand new century--the twentieth--a time for new thoughts and bold ne. But it's a brand new century--the twentieth--a time for new thoughts and bold new actions. And Missy Wright is about to set every self-righteous tongue in the town of Byron wagging. Because she has just set her sights on a mysterious, mistrusted, and unsuspecting stranger Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Picks and Pans Review: The Ladies of Missalonghi
Liz Dexter Book confessions , Book reviews book confessions , book reviews , books 23 Comments. Hm, see below the book confessions to read how true that is! This is a fairy tale really, but a lovely one where you really root for the heroine, and you also do get quite a lot of detail about the fate of impoverished genteel ladies trapped in small-town Australia, unable to earn any money in all but the most indirect ways and vulnerable to being preyed on by even their male relatives. All men were untouchables, even jailbirds. All men had choices.
Book Rant: The Ladies of Missalonghi by Colleen McCullough
I was just thinking about The Ladies of Missalonghi today. No kidding. I love the book, too, and today I was ruminating on the question of how many times I've read it, two or three. Last year I retired as a high school librarian.
The Ladies of Missalonghi
The first in a new series of short novels by accomplished authors, this book looks as though it had been designed by the late Laura Ashley, with a pastel-colored cover of the three ladies of the title decked out in long dresses and picture hats. It is a small volume with eight sketches reminiscent of illustrated books from the turn of the century. Men, again, ultimately are reduced to the weaker sex. And none too soon in this case because the entrenched Hurlingford clan has been mistreating its womenfolk—the ones who are manless—by cheating them out of their inheritance and income. The name of the town in the Blue Mountains where they live, Byron, suggests the heights of romantic fantasy the author aspires to.