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The Rich Mrs. Burgoyne   By: (1880-1966)

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I recently had the pleasure of discovering Kathleen Thompson Norris's novel, The Rich Mrs. Burgoyne. This beautifully written book delves into the intricate lives of the wealthy and privileged, providing a captivating portrayal of the social dynamics and challenges faced by the upper class in early 20th-century America.

Set in the picturesque town of Santa Paloma, the story centers around the character of Mrs. Burgoyne, a woman of great wealth who has recently moved to the area with her daughter, Alice. Mrs. Burgoyne's opulent lifestyle contrasts sharply with the simplicity of the small town, creating an intriguing dichotomy that drives the narrative forward.

Norris delves deeply into the characters, providing a rich tapestry of personalities that range from the aloof and arrogant to the compassionate and humble. Each character is meticulously crafted, and their interactions are filled with tension, emotion, and unexpected twists.

One of the main themes explored in the novel is the struggle between wealth and happiness. Norris paints a vivid picture of the emptiness that sometimes accompanies great affluence, detailing the superficiality and isolation experienced by Mrs. Burgoyne. Through her masterful storytelling, the author prompts readers to question the true meaning of fulfillment and the value of money in one's pursuit of a meaningful life.

Additionally, Norris demonstrates a keen understanding of the complex power dynamics within social circles. She expertly dissects the influence of money and prestige on relationships, exploring themes of envy, ambition, and manipulation. The characters' ambitions often clash, leading to riveting conflicts and unexpected alliances that keep readers engrossed until the very end.

Furthermore, Norris skillfully weaves in elements of romance and suspense, offering readers a glimpse into the intricacies of love and desire within a rarified society. The romantic relationships are delicately portrayed, showcasing the tension between passion and societal expectations.

What truly sets The Rich Mrs. Burgoyne apart is Norris's elegant prose and her ability to create a sense of time and place. Through vivid descriptions of the Santa Paloma landscape and the opulent manor inhabited by the central characters, readers are transported to a bygone era, immersing themselves in the luxurious world of high society.

In conclusion, Kathleen Thompson Norris's The Rich Mrs. Burgoyne is a captivating and thought-provoking novel that offers a glimpse into the lives of the wealthy during the early 20th century. With its richly drawn characters, engrossing plot, and evocative prose, this book is sure to captivate readers who enjoy exploring the complexities of human nature and the allure of privilege.

First Page:




Lover of books, who never fails to find Some good in every book, your namesake sends This book to you, knowing you always kind To small things, timid and in need of friends.

O friend! I know not which way I must look For comfort, being, as I am, opprest, To think that now our life is only drest For show; mean handy work of craftsman, cook, Or groom! We must run glittering like a brook In the open sunshine, or we are unblest; The wealthiest man among us is the best: No grandeur now in nature or in book Delights us. Rapine, avarice, expense, This is idolatry; and these we adore: Plain living and high thinking are no more: The homely beauty of the good old cause Is gone; our peace, our fearful innocence. And pure religion breathing household laws. WILLIAM WORDSWORTH.


"Annie, what are you doing? Polishing the ramekins? Oh, that's right. Did the extra ramekins come from Mrs. Brown? Didn't! Then as soon as the children come back I'll send for them; I wish you'd remind me. Did Mrs. Binney come? and Lizzie? Oh, that's good... Continue reading book >>

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