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Miss Mole
By Emily Hilda Young

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Miss Mole
By E. H. Young
ISIS Large Print, (2000)
ISBN: 0-7531-6079-X
Genre: General Fiction

Other Editions: Audio Cassette - Unabridged

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - December 30, 2001

Miss Mole, by Emily Hilda Young is a whimsical story that will delight readers of all ages. The lead character, Miss Hannah Mole is a passionate, strong-willed, resourceful woman who has a penchant for mischief. She has spent most of her adult life working as nursery governess, and of late, as a personal companion to a series of vexing, older women. As the story opens, we find that Mole has aged into a thin, bedraggled woman of about forty who is just as willful and audacious as she was in her younger days.

Without having secured new employment, she willy-nilly quits her irksome employer and resolves to return to her hometown of Radstowe. There she begins her hunt for gainful employment. When she spies the Reverend Robert Corder, she rightly decides that he is in need of a housekeeper. The fact that he doesn't realize his need is immaterial. With the aid of "her grand connection," a cousin by the name of Lilla Spenser-Smith, Miss Mole quickly finds herself ensconced as the vicarage's housekeeper.

In short order, it becomes apparent that Miss Mole has at last found a home. Corder is a widower with two daughters living at home. With finesse, Mole wraps Corder around her finger, a task made somewhat more difficult than usual due to Corder's stuffiness. And thanks to her compassion and wisdom, she becomes a pseudo mother for his daughters, Ethel and Ruth. As events are to unfold, Mole finds the girls have just as much to offer to her, as she does to them.

Miss Mole was originally published in 1930, and it was for Miss Mole that Young won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction in 1930. This prize put Young in illustrious company. Over the years this prize for fiction has also been won by the likes of Robert Graves, E. M. Forster, D. H. Lawrence, Aldous Huxley, Graham Greene, Evelyn Waugh, and John Le Carré to name but a few. Throughout her literary career, Young wrote numerous novels, including William, The Misses Mallett, The Curate's Wife, Chatterton Square, and The Vicar's Daughter.

This is the first novel that I've read of Young's, and I found it to be a well-polished, engaging story. The characters are well fleshed-out and Mole, in particular, is so animated that you practically expect her to plop down beside you and start up a conversation. Young's style of writing is relaxed and I found that this is an excellent book for those times when you are looking for something light to read, yet still want something with substance, with which to while away a few lazy hours. If Miss Mole is indicative of Young's other books, I am sure that I will find them equally enjoyable to read.

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