"Read the best books, get the feel of them. Study style, add words to your possession as a miser adds coins. Have you ever studied composition?"
"A little in High School."
"Frankly, I doubt if you can ever write. I see no gleam of a gift in these things you have brought me. They are sentimental and silly. But if you should want to learn something about this great art----"
"Oh, I do," said Jane earnestly.
"Very well, I will give you a list of books to begin with. You must get a position so that you can support yourself, then study when you can. Write all the time; get facility with words, then tear it up. Don't try to sell things. Begin to watch people; get abreast of events. Read the papers and the magazines in the library. Read Shakespeare, Fielding, Dickens, Thackeray, Bunyan, Meredith, Barrie, and Galsworthy. You might even try Shaw."
"Oh, I will!" cried Jane.
"I don't often inflict an hour's lecture upon unprotected young women, Miss Judd."
I'm not sure if it was just because I picked this up to read out of a non-committal sort of idleness, but this book took me by surprise. I read it in a marathon one-sitting and am now sitting back gasping because of the unexpected force of it.
This is a well-crafted romance woven of realistic characters, a clear-sighted view into artistry, philosophy and the man-woman "problem" very much alive in the WW1 period; it is full of unexpected happenings, truths about life, emotion and purpose - and heartbreak.
As a sort of measuring-stick, Cooke's work is heavier than Jean Webster's light romances but a little lighter than the Bronte sisters - still eminently readable. Jane Judd reminded me many times of Jane Eyre - both women of silent force of character and unexpected depths.
If you enjoyed this, I'd also recommend The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery and A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter. A slightly lighter read (but extremely enjoyable - another one that took me by surprise) is A Woman Named Smith by Marie Conway Oehmler.
Wonderful book about exceptional personality.
Clash of life philosophy and reality. Finding true love and purpose for living.
My God! I can't put this book down. Unpredictable!