This book struck chords with me both as a former teacher and as a daughter. Mary Bascomb is a teacher, mother, mother in law and eventually grandmother. She has been accustomed to being the center and controlling influence in her son Ralph’s world until the unexpected arrival of Lottie Hicks, his new wife. Lottie is someone who cannot be controlled by Mrs Bascomb and the latter has finally met her match. The sparks begin to fly until Mrs Bascomb changes her ways grudgingly. The arrival and life sustaining entrance of her grand daughter into her life propels her to take action. How she copes with this situation is the pivotal part of the book. It presents the reader with a moral conundrum. Fisher’s description of family hostilities, and turmoil is very truthfully and sharply reported. All the character’s helplessness in this whirlpool of emotions is palpably felt by the reader. Mrs Bascomb makes a major decision which has a profound effect on the livesof each of the family circle. This reader had difficulty accepting that decision even though it had a positive outcome for all concerned. The moral justification for the decision is left to the reader to sort out for him or herself.
Overall, a fascinating and insightful read and a book that is unnecessarily neglected by posterity as it speaks to anyone who has ever been part of a family unit which is the vast majority of us.