"What is more vulgar than the ideal of novelists? In real life, how many men and women fall in love?" So says Rhoda Nunn, George Gissing's formidable heroine. Through a gripping and thought-provoking story, Gissing presents the reality for Victorian women: a society in which marriage is judged to be the only acceptable way forward. His perspective is strikingly sympathetic for its time, and as such the novel has an exhilarating freshness far removed from the contemporary sentimental romantics.
The young Monica Madden cries for two days before her marriage to Edmund Widdowson; the ensuing claustrophobia, which opens the door for the more desirable Bevis, contrasts with Rhoda's independence - yet Rhoda's own principles are tested when she falls in love rather by accident....
The Odd Women is a remarkable book, ultimately optimistic in its hope for a societal shift that will benefit both men and women alike.
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