31 Shots of Shock: #10 – ‘The Lady’s Maid’s Bell’ by Edith Wharton

*Title: ‘The Lady’s Maid’s Bell’ by Edith Wharton.
Date Read: 10 October 2010
Available Online?: YES
Briefly: Still weak and recovering from typhoid, Hartley is invited to take up the position of lady-maid at the country home of the sickly but pleasant, Mrs. Brympton. Hartley settles in quickly in what turns out to be a congenial household; congenial that is except for for a couple of factors.
Afterthoughts: Although this story is well written and up to the standard one would expect from Edith Wharton, it ends up being rather fundamentally flawed. As a whole the story is enigmatic, vague, and it feels as though too many loose ends have been left untied. This is a real shame because Wharton certainly works hard at creating a real Gothic classic (and at times during the story she succeeds brilliantly), but ultimately, with too many things left unexplained, this story feels wholly unfinished.
Notable Quote: I looked ahead as she spoke, and half-way down the passage I saw a woman standing. She drew back into a doorway as we passed and the house-maid didn’t appear to notice her. She was a thin woman with a white face, and a darkish stuff gown and apron. I took her for the housekeeper and thought it odd that she didn’t speak, but just gave me a long look as she went by.

Rating: ★★½☆☆

*Story read as part of my 31 Shots of Shock reading challenge.

About Rob

Rob, a self-confessed bibliophile, is without any hope of rehabilitation. He gets unnaturally excited over anything book-shaped, and if book sniffing were a crime then he would have been locked up years ago (which wouldn't bother him in the slightest provided his cell was lined with books).

Comments

  1. It is never satisfying when you have too many loose ends. I hope to read Edith Wharton some day.

    • Rob (Twitter: robaroundbooks)
      says:

      I’m sure this was just a one off Veens. I’ve heard so many good things about Wharton (as I’m sure you have too)
      Warmest
      Rob

  2. It has been a long time since I read this one, so I’ll have to re-read it soon to see if I notice the loose ends in it. Hope my recommendation wasn’t too disappointing, though!

    • Rob (Twitter: robaroundbooks)
      says:

      Oh good heavens no, Valerie. Despite its shortcomings it was still a pleasurable read. I hope my les than favourable review of it doesn’t make me look ungrateful for your suggestion. I’m not!
      Warmest
      Rob

  3. I actually liked this one quite a bit. It was vague, yes, but quite good. I should re-read it as it’s been a couple of years, I think.