Monday, February 3, 2014

Her Season in Bath  A Story of Bygone Days  -  1889
Emma Marshall
204 pages
genre  -  Historical Fiction
my rating  -  2 out of 5 stars

"It was the height of the Bath season in 1779, and there was scarcely any part of the city which did not feel the effect of the great tide of amusement and pleasure..."  Young Griselda Mainwaring, an orphan and ward of her aunt, was not amused nor pleased with the pressure of accepting the suit of Sir Maxwell Danby.  He was repugnant!  How could she get away from him?

The author tried so hard for this one book to be so many things.  It seemed like it was intended to be an educational historical fiction, part romance (with gothic tendencies) and an inspirational story, to boot!  Included in all this, the author wrote in an awkward style meant to be the common speech of the late 1700's.  In my opinion, it just didn't work.

All that being said, the story did keep my attention throughout the whole.  The plot was well defined, if somewhat predicable. And I learned something in the process.  Evidently, Emma Marshall was well-known for taking a real person and inserting them into her fictional tale.

In Her Season in Bath, the Hanoverian-born British astronomer, William Herschel and his sister Caroline, are neighbors to the young heroine.  Herschel built his own reflecting telescopes. He "began to look at the planets and the stars" in May 1773 and on 1 March 1774 began an astronomical journal by noting his observations of Saturn's rings. 

In March 1781, Herschel noticed an object appearing as a nonstellar disk. It must be a planet beyond the orbit of Saturn. He called the new planet the 'Georgian star' after King George III.  The name did not stick. In France, where reference to the British king was to be avoided if possible, the planet was known as 'Herschel' until the name 'Uranus' was adopted.

About the author  -

Emma Martin was born in 1830, in Norfolk, England and was the youngest daughter of Simon Martin and Hannah Ransome.  Miss Martin has depicted her early childhood in one of her first stories, The Dawn of Life. She was educated at a private school until the age of sixteen.

When as a girl she read Longfellow's Evangeline, she was so much impressed with it that she wrote to the poet, and thus began a correspondence that lasted until her death.

In 1854, she married Hugh Graham Marshall, a banker. They had three sons and four daughters.

Her first story, Happy Days at Fernbank, was published in 1861. Between that date and her death she wrote over two hundred stories.

Marshall died at home on 4 May, 1899, from pneumonia.

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