Plot Summary: Set at the turn of the century, career woman Ruth Thorne is on leave from her job as a journalist to stay at her aunt’s house by the sea. While there, she uncovers a mystery in the attic concerning an old wedding dress, some newspaper clippings, and a lantern she is instructed to leave by the window every night. How do all of these things tie together? Who is the reclusive neighbor dressed in lavender and old lace? And who is that charming young fellow down the lane?
My Book Review: Another sweet, light vintage read for me this year, simply dripping with mystery, lace, and romance. I think I probably wanted to read this just because of the title.
I loved the character of Miss Ainslie the most! This is the reclusive older woman who lives next door to Ruth’s aunt, and the two used to be close friends. I simply loved the description of her eclectic house and garden, and it made for a beautiful atmosphere. Any scene which took place with Miss Ainslie had my attention. The following is one of my favorite quotes I took from the book:
“The world had seemingly given up its beauty to adorn Miss Ainslie’s room. She had pottery from Mexico, China, and Japan; strange things from Egypt and the Nile, and all the Oriental splendor of the India and Persia.”
I also enjoyed the witty, humorous banter between Ruth and her lover. However, the book felt somewhat unbalanced as their romance took place too fast. Then halfway through the story, Ruth’s aunt came back home from vacation dragging her long lost man behind her and that plot twist just felt too painful. I was expecting Aunt Jane to be a mature, interesting person and looked forward to meeting her, but when she was introduced to the story I found her to be pitiful and short-sighted. I would have felt sorry for her new husband, but I didn’t much like him either.
As much as I liked Miss Ainslie, she was also to be pitied as she goes through her daily ritual of being true to her own long lost love with no compensation after decades of loyalty. I found the whole story too unbelievable and miserable. Honestly, I was glad when I was done with it.
If you like the hopelessly romantic stories of L. M. Montgomery, you may find some enjoyment out of this. Otherwise, I personally did not enjoy it and don’t particularly recommend.
You can listen to this book for free here.
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