Book Reviews 2022

Book Reviews – April 2022 – Sallie Eden

Miss Plum and Miss Penny by Dorothy Evelyn Smith

Published by Dean Street Press, 2020. Originally published in 1959

Miss Penny (on such a short acquaintance, it doesn’t seem appropriate to refer to her as Alison) is a 40 year old spinster living in comfort with her housekeeper, Ada.

Life is a series of predictable events in Miss Penny’s world. Her birthday is celebrated in the same way each year, but this year is different. There’s no letter from George.

Eligible men are thin on the ground in their Yorkshire village, unless you count Stanley, who might or might not wear a corset, and Hubert, the local Priest who would undoubtedly drive to insanity any reasonably houseproud woman.

After 20 years, will George come to the rescue or is his arrival merely a distraction?

And what of Miss Plum? After her encounter with the duck pond, what decent Christian woman wouldn’t want to take care of her? Being saddled with an unfortunate name might excuse some rather trying personality traits, but surely it isn’t normal to cry quite so much.

The Chicago Tribune described this book as ‘enchanting’ and it is. It’s utterly charming. I couldn’t put it down, although I’ve yet to find a category in which to place it: romance? mystery? crime fiction?

In such troubling times a lighthearted, engrossing book can provide a suitable distraction, so perhaps the category I’m seeking is ‘comfort reading’


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