The Squire's Daughter
by Archibald Marshall
First published in 1912
The Squire's Daughter is the first book in a series known as the Clinton Family Chronicles by Archibald Marshall (1866-1934). Reviews contemporaneous with the publication of his novels compared Marshall with Anthony Trollope, and from what I have read so far, I find the comparison apt. I don't understand why this series has fallen into obscurity.
Squire Edward Clinton lives at his country home of Kencote with his wife, his daughter Cecily, and twin daughters of 13 Joan and Nancy. Four grown sons, Dick, Humphrey, Walter and Frank, live away from home. Cecily, age 22, is restless living in the country, although she cannot define what would cure of her restlessness. She chafes at her father's restrictions on the women of his household, feeling that her brothers have had more liberal treatment and better education. Brother Walter, who is about to be married, has defied his father's wishes and become a doctor, rather than becoming a clergyman.
The characters are wonderfully drawn. Even the Squire is a sympathetic fellow whom one cannot help liking, despite his foibles. This is a delightful novel and recommended to all who have enjoyed Trollope's Barchester Chronicles, Mrs. Gaskell's Cranford, and Mrs. Oliphant's Carlingford Chronicles.