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The Doctor's Family   By: (1828-1897)

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In Margaret Oliphant's literary masterpiece, readers are introduced to the intricacies of family dynamics within the realm of Victorian society. "The Doctor's Family" delves into the lives of the St. John family, exploring their struggles, triumphs, and ultimately, their resilience.

Set in a small Scottish town, the narrative revolves around Dr. Edward St. John, his wife, Mary, and their five children. The St. John household embodies the idyllic Victorian family, said to be picture-perfect and ideal in society's eyes. However, Oliphant skillfully reveals that beneath this fa├žade, a deeper complexity lies.

From the beginning, it becomes apparent that each family member harbors their own unique challenges. Dr. St. John is an honest and diligent physician, deeply committed to his profession. Yet, his demanding work hours and the expectations placed upon him by society leave him struggling to connect with his family on an emotional level. Mary, a dutiful wife and caring mother, yearns for a more profound connection with her husband, seeking solace in solitude.

The children, each with their distinct personalities, face their own battles. As they navigate the challenges of adolescence, they grapple with societal expectations and personal ambitions. Oliphant expertly develops each character, allowing readers to empathize with their individual journeys.

Amidst this tapestry of family life, Oliphant weaves a captivating storyline rife with suspense and intrigue. The narrative takes an unexpected turn when an enigmatic stranger, Arthur Sedgwick, enters their lives. His arrival disrupts the delicate equilibrium within the St. John household, sparking a series of events that force the family to confront their deepest fears and desires.

Oliphant's writing effortlessly transports readers to the heart of Victorian society, with its rigid conventions and societal expectations. Her vivid descriptions breathe life into the setting, painting a vivid picture of the picturesque Scottish town and its inhabitants. Through her masterful storytelling, she explores the dichotomy between societal norms and the human need for individuality and autonomy.

What sets "The Doctor's Family" apart is Oliphant's profound understanding of human nature. With great insight and empathy, she delves into the complex emotions that drive the characters' decisions, allowing readers to connect with their struggles and triumphs.

Overall, "The Doctor's Family" is a compelling exploration of the intricacies of family life, wrapped in a captivating Victorian setting. Oliphant's rich character development and thought-provoking narrative make this novel a truly memorable reading experience. It showcases her remarkable literary talent and solidifies her place among the great Victorian authors.

First Page:

Chronicles of Carlingford








Young Dr Rider lived in the new quarter of Carlingford: had he aimed at a reputation in society, he could not possibly have done a more foolish thing; but such was not his leading motive. The young man, being but young, aimed at a practice. He was not particular in the mean time as to the streets in which his patients dwelt. A new house, gazing with all its windows over a brick field, was as interesting to the young surgeon as if it had been one of those exclusive houses in Grange Lane, where the aristocracy of Carlingford lived retired within their garden walls. His own establishment, though sufficiently comfortable, was of a kind utterly to shock the feelings of the refined community: a corner house, with a surgery round the corner, throwing the gleam of its red lamp over all that chaotic district of half formed streets and full developed brick fields, with its night bell prominent, and young Rider's name on a staring brass plate, with mysterious initials after it. M.R.C.S. the unhappy young man had been seduced to put after his name upon that brass plate, though he was really Dr Rider, a physician, if not an experienced one... Continue reading book >>

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