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Penny Plain   By: (1877-1948)

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Penny Plain by O. Douglas is a heartwarming and thought-provoking novel that beautifully captures the essence of family, self-discovery, and the power of resilience.

Set in the charming Scottish countryside, the story revolves around Jean Jardine, a young woman who is thrust into the role of provider and protector for her family after the untimely death of her father. With limited resources and faced with numerous challenges, Jean must navigate the complexities of rural life, while taking care of her younger siblings and managing a dilapidated farm.

One of the most captivating aspects of this novel is the way it delves into the depths of each character's emotional journey. Douglas masterfully paints a vivid picture of their struggles, dreams, and fears, making them relatable and endearing to the reader. Jean's resilience and tenacity, in particular, are incredibly inspiring, as she embodies the unwavering spirit of a woman determined to overcome adversity.

The themes of societal expectations, class divisions, and the limitations imposed on women during the early 20th century are also skillfully woven into the narrative. Douglas intricately explores the contrast between the desires of the heart and the responsibilities one is burdened with, highlighting the internal conflicts faced by the characters.

The author's prose is both engaging and eloquent, transporting readers to the idyllic Scottish countryside with its breathtaking landscapes and quaint communities. Her attention to detail and vivid descriptions bring the setting to life, making it feel like a character in itself.

Penny Plain is a slow-burning novel that focuses on the nuances of human relationships, portraying the complexities and depth of familial love, friendship, and romance. The interactions between the characters are beautifully crafted, reflecting the intricate dynamics and unwavering support that can be found within these connections.

One minor criticism is that the pacing of the story can be a bit slow at times, with the plot meandering through everyday events. However, this is not necessarily a flaw, as it allows the reader to fully immerse themselves in the lives of the characters and appreciate the little moments that shape their journey.

Overall, Penny Plain is a captivating and heartfelt novel that will appeal to those who appreciate stories of resilience, self-discovery, and the enduring power of love and family. O. Douglas' masterful storytelling and richly developed characters make this book an absolute joy to read, leaving a lasting impression on its readers long after the final page is turned.

First Page:

PENNY PLAIN

BY

O. DOUGLAS

TO MY BROTHER WALTER

SHOPMAN: "You may have your choice penny plain or twopence coloured."

SOLEMN SMALL BOY: "Penny plain, please. It's better value for the money."

CHAPTER I

"The actors are at hand, And by their show You shall know all that you are like to know." Midsummer Night's Dream .

It was tea time in Priorsford: four thirty by the clock on a chill October afternoon.

The hills circling the little town were shrouded with mist. The wide bridge that spanned the Tweed and divided the town proper the Highgate, the Nethergate, the Eastgate from the residential part was almost deserted. On the left bank of the river, Peel Tower loomed ghostly in the gathering dusk. Round its grey walls still stood woods of larch and fir, and in front the links of Tweed moved through pleasant green pastures. But where once ladies on palfreys hung with bells hunted with their cavaliers there now stood the neat little dwellings of prosperous, decent folk; and where the good King James wrote his rhymes, and listened to the singing of Mass from the Virgin's Chapel, the Parish Kirk reared a sternly Presbyterian steeple. No need any longer for Peel to light the beacon telling of the coming of our troublesome English neighbours. Telegraph wires now carried the matter, and a large bus met them at the trains and conveyed them to that flamboyant pile in red stone, with its glorious views, its medicinal baths, and its band enlivened meals, known as Priorsford Hydropathic... Continue reading book >>




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