Sunday, May 17, 2009
A Proper Education for Girls by Elaine DiRollo
In 1857, twins Alice and Lillian are separated, Lillian married off and banished to India after a scandal. Back in England, their father intercepts the mail to be sure they can't communicate and Alice is stuck with the huge project of photographing his large collection of curiosities. Intelligent and determined, both women rebel against the confines of their lives and hope that they will soon be together again.
The story flipped back and forth between Lillian in India and Alice in England, and though their situations were very different, they both struggled against sexual repression and the restrictions placed on women's lives during that period. The whole cast of characters were cleverly crafted, from the creepy Dr. Cattermole to the amusing array of older aunts, and these characters added depth and uncertainty to the story. It's hard to tell who will be allies, and how - or if - the young women will manage to escape their difficult situations. I loved this book.
Two great books in a row. I think I've lucked out recently!