The Third Miss Symons
By F.M. Mayor
*A marvellous, moving novel of solitude, spinsterhood and, above all, triumph.
*An extraordinary many faceted account of one woman, and the richness of her being.
The story of Henrietta Symons from her birth to her death, and the most perfect account in English fiction of those women who, through the ages, have neither married nor loved, the spinster, the maiden aunt, the surplus woman. Henrietta is the third daughter in a large Victorian family, the misfit girl without the beauty or the talent to be loved. Querulous, bad-tempered, her meaningless life passes aimlessly by. But Henrietta has one saving grace. She knows herself for what she is, and self-knowledge, however bitter, turns her life of defeat into a certain kind of victory.
Flora Macdonald Mayor was born in 1872 and read History at Cambridge. Five of her novels have been published, one posthumously, and a collection of stories for children. But it is this novel, published in 1913 and THE RECTOR'S DAUGHTER, published in 1924 which best express her artistic genius. After life long ill-health she died in 1932.
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- Publication date:
10 Aug 1987
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Mayor's achievement is to take the "superfluous female" of the Victorian census return, and transform her into a figure of luminous importance — INDEPENDENT
As a literary study of that now-extinct creature, the Victorian spinster, it shines — GUARDIAN
This is a great work of fiction, with deep emotional, moral, intellectual and social content.. — Susan Hill