It's another free Kindle book on amazon: 'Domestic Manners of the Americans' by Fanny Trollope. She was the mother of Anthony Trollope, whose works can also be found on amazon kindle. He wrote several books which may be familiar to the modern reader because they were adapted to video and appeared as series on public television. 'The Way We Live Now' comes to mind.
His autobiography is wonderful to read. Then you realize that he was part of a family that included his mother, Fanny, who set off for America from England with several of her children (they had large families in those days, in the 1800's) and a devoted artist friend who was a man. Her husband stayed home with some of the other children.
As she traveled, she wrote her impressions, collecting them into a manuscript that she submitted to a publisher upon returning home. Her thoughts about America and Americans were not positive and you see America through her eyes. I can understand how Americans hated the book when it became a success in England. I can also see America (even today) in the book.
There are probably several full-length feature films in this book, if someone were to do it justice. The scene in the book that is most vivid in my memory is of Fanny traveling with a friend who has a compound in the wilds, and she wants Fanny to come and stay for a visit. They are traveling in the dark, in a carriage, in woods where there are no roads. There are branches and stumps that scrape the bottom of the carriage. There's no particular signage or markers but the driver of the carriage knows the way. They come to a small river crossing and Fanny asks if maybe the water is too deep and the current too strong for them to cross there. No one even pays attention to her. The horses plunge into the water and sink right away. The driver just instructs the passengers to climb on a horse! A horse can swim! When they get to the other side, Fanny climbs out, covered with mud and soaking wet and everyone else, in the same condition as she, acts like this is 'business as usual.' What an adventure! What a brave woman!
It was her first book. She pulled her family out of financial ruin with the money she got from the publisher, and then she went on to write more and more, this time fiction, becoming a successful author in her 50s. According to Wikipedia, she wrote over 100 books. All this and she was an active mother and wife, nursing her husband through a serious illness.
I find Fanny to be an inspiration because-
She wasn't a 'plucky' little lady, although she was lively. She was a person who didn't express the thought, 'I can't do _____ because I'm ______ and _______ doesn't/don't like me and I would never fit in.' She just went forward. She wasn't pretty, slim, beautiful and charming. She wasn't brilliant. She was the embodiment of the saying, 'What the mind can conceive, the body can achieve.' No excuses.
Last edited by Kathy13118; 02-23-2014 at 07:55 PM.