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Lady Good-for-Nothing   By: (1863-1944)

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Lady Good-for-Nothing by Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch is an enchanting and captivating novel set in 19th century England. This literary work transports readers to a time of societal conventions, strict gender roles, and the power of love to defy expectations.

The story revolves around the life of Lady Berenice, a young and vivacious woman whose unconventional behavior earns her the reputation of being "Good-for-Nothing." Berenice's refusal to adhere to the expectations placed upon her by society, particularly in matters of love and marriage, sets her apart from other female characters in 19th century literature.

As the narrative progresses, we witness Berenice's transformation from a carefree and somewhat naive young lady into a strong-willed and determined woman who seeks not just love, but also self-discovery and personal fulfillment. The author beautifully portrays the internal struggles faced by Berenice as she grapples with societal expectations while remaining true to herself.

One of the most remarkable aspects of Lady Good-for-Nothing is Quiller-Couch's ability to bring the setting and characters to life. His vivid descriptions transport readers to the lush English countryside and the opulent salons of high society. The detailed portrayal of the societal norms and constraints provides readers with a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by women during this era.

Moreover, the characters in this novel are incredibly well-developed and complex. Lady Berenice's journey is both relatable and inspiring, making her a protagonist who readers will root for throughout the story. The supporting characters, such as Berenice's fiery cousin Caroline and the dashing yet mysterious Captain Chantrey, add depth and intrigue to the overall narrative.

Quiller-Couch's writing style is evocative and rich, capturing the essence of the time period exceptionally well. His use of language is elegant and poetic, enhancing the overall reading experience. The pacing of the story is well-balanced, with moments of intense emotion and poignant reflection interspersed with lighter, more humorous scenes.

Lady Good-for-Nothing is a thought-provoking and heartwarming tale that goes beyond the constraints of its time period. It explores themes of societal expectations, gender roles, and the importance of staying true to oneself. Quiller-Couch's masterful storytelling transports readers to another era, immersing them in Berenice's journey of self-discovery and empowerment.

In conclusion, Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch's Lady Good-for-Nothing is a beautifully-written novel that will captivate readers with its compelling characters, lush setting, and timeless themes. This literary gem is a must-read for anyone who enjoys historical fiction and stories of personal growth.

First Page:

E text prepared by Lionel Sear


A Man's Portrait of a Woman



First Published in 1910.

This story originally appeared in the weekly edition of the "Times," and is now issued in book form by arrangement with the Proprietors of that Journal.

TO My Commodore and old Friend Edward Atkinson, Esq. of Rosebank, Mixtow by Fowey.


Some years ago an unknown American friend proposed my writing a story on the loves and adventures of Sir Harry Frankland, Collector of the Port of Boston in the mid eighteenth century, and Agnes Surriage, daughter of a poor Marble head fisherman. The theme attracted me as it has attracted other writers and notably Oliver Wendell Holmes, who built a poem on it. But while their efforts seemed to leave room for another, I was no match for them in knowledge of the facts or of local details; and, moreover, these facts and details cramped my story. I repented, therefore and, taking the theme, altered the locality and the characters who, by the way, in the writing have become real enough to me, albeit in a different sense. Thus (I hope) no violence has been offered to historical truth, while I have been able to tell the tale in my own fashion.



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