The Lady of the Basement Flat - 1917
Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey
genre - Romance
my rating - 4 out of 5 stars
The opening lines of a book are very important for catching the attention of the reader. Some well known examples are: "Call me Ishmael." "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife."
The Lady of the Basement Flat could be added to this list:
"At three o'clock this afternoon Evelyn Wastneys died. I am Evelyn Wastneys, and I died, standing at the door of an old country home in Ireland...a trembling treble voice whispering in my ear - 'Oh, Evelyn, promise you will not be unhappy!'"
Twenty-six-year-old Evelyn and her younger sister are orphans, with only a pair of elderly aunts as family. When Evelyn's sister marries and leaves for Canada, Evelyn is at a loss with what to do with her life. Living with those aunts is not an option!
Then Evelyn has a wonderful idea. All she needs now is the courage to carry out her plan.
I have a number of favorite lines from the book. The one that doesn't give away any spoilers is: "Oh, how many mysteries there are around us! How wonderful, how absorbingly interesting it will be, when the time comes, to hear the explanation of all that seems so tangled to our present understanding!"
About the author -
She married cotton broker Henry Mansergh in 1883. A number of her books were originally published under the name "Jessie Mansergh." After the death of Henry Mansergh in 1894, her work began to be published in magazines.
Jessie was married again in 1898, to George de Horne Vaizey, a man she met while on a cruise won through a story competition. Her son George Vaizey, born in 1900, was also to become a writer.
Vaizey wrote 33 books, as well as numerous short stories and magazine articles.
Contracting typhoid in the early years of the twentieth century, she developed rheumatoid arthritis, and was confined to a wheelchair until her death in 1917.