Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Wonderful Discovery!

Mr. Tommy Dove and Other Stories

Old Chester Tales
by Margaret Deland

Several years ago I read John Ward, Preacher by Margaret Deland and loved it. For some reason - probably because Deland's books were not accessible to me at the time - I did not read anything else by this author. Last night, though, I downloaded Old Chester Tales and have begun reading it this morning with my breakfast. What a wonderful discovery! In the introduction to the Google Books edition available through the links here, Vida Scudder of Wellesley College compares Deland to Jane Austen and Elizabeth Gaskell; and Deland's fictional Old Chester to Cranford.

This volume is the second of the chronicles of Old Chester, and I am anticipating a wonderful visit there. The first volume of the series is Mr. Tommy Dove and Other Stories, published in 1893.

I will say before I go that John Ward, Preacher has a somber tone, and I understand from what I have read about some of Deland's other novels that the somber tone prevails in some of them. I am expecting, however, to find an American version of Cranford in Margaret Deland's Old Chester, Pennsylvania.

Later: I have just finished reading the first story in Mr. Tommy Dove, and oh, how I loved it. It reminds me far more of Elizabeth Gaskell's Cranford than of Jane Austen, but of course this is just the first story of the series. I highly recommend it.

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