Resourceful, optimistic, determined, and unflappable, Miss Marjorie Marjoribanks would make a delightful, though perhaps slightly controlling, companion. While staying dutifully–albeit perhaps a bit technically–inside the closely circumscribed boundaries of what is correct and proper behavior for a young Victorian woman, Miss Marjoribanks is able to manage just about every aspect of life in her little town, including politics, even though she can’t, of course, actually vote.
After finishing school and taking a brief tour of the continent, Miss Marjoribanks comes back home to “be a comfort” to her dear papa, a modest and selfless goal she mentions frequently at the most strategic times. Her mother had died a few years back and while her father, the town doctor, finds his life quite complete, Miss Marjoribanks is determined to make it better. She also has a quite a few other things in mind to improve the social life of the town as well, including holding lively and soon beloved Thursday evening gatherings in her father’s drawing room, which she had specially painted in a shade to flatter her complexion (she thinks of everything!).
Miss Marjoribanks decides she’ll continue on this course for 10 years, long enough to make up for papa having had the expense of redecorating the drawing room, before she thinks about getting married. But even Miss Marjoribanks can’t anticipate everything that will happen.
Some readers and reviewers have remarked that Marjorie Marjoribanks is like Jane Austen’s Emma but less irritating, and I concur completely with that sentiment. It’s a long book, and it did drag a little in the middle for me, but the story has a wonderful ending and it’s filled with a variety of spirited, humorous, mostly lovable characters.
My pleasure in this book was greatly enhanced by dialogue with reading partners–Miss Marjoribanks was an April buddy read with the Dead Writers Society on GoodReads and the Reading the Victorian Book Club on BookLikes.