callmemadam (callmemadam) wrote,

Girlsown books for the Kindle No. 2: Mrs Vaizey


I love Mrs Vaizey’s books and have a whole shelf full of them. Some were quite hard to find, so it is slightly galling that I can now download them free. Never mind, I had the thrill of the chase and enjoyed the books years before the Kindle was invented. The first book of hers I read was About Peggy Saville and I loved it immediately for its humour and fun. I moved on to More About Peggy, then Pixie O’Shaughnessy, More About Pixie and, eventually, The Love Affairs of Pixie. These books start with the girls at school and were obviously written for a schoolgirl audience. Mrs Vaizey wrote a number of romances, of which my favourites are probably Big Game and Flaming June. She also wrote about the problems of single young women trying to earn their living. Even the books touching on more serious subjects have their humorous touches.

Mrs George de Horne Vaizey (1856 – 1917) was born in Liverpool. Her first husband, Henry Mansergh, was possibly an alcoholic or drug addict. After his death, Mrs Mansergh began writing to support her family. Her second marriage, to George de Horne Vaizey, seems to have been more successful. You may come across her as ‘Jessie Mansergh’ or ‘Jessie Bell’, her maiden name. Several of her books were serialised in the Girl’s Own Annual and this is where the Kindle scores. My copy of The Lady of the Basement Flat was in one of the annuals and could only be read by picking up a very heavy book and searching for the chapters. I’ve since downloaded it from Project Gutenberg. When she died, the GOA published ‘Some Memories by an Intimate Friend’. The writer described how, fifteen years before her death, Mrs Vaizey had typhoid fever which left her crippled and confined to a wheelchair. This didn’t diminish her zest for life or her interest in clothes, shopping and needlework. She believed that God intended life to be enjoyed and disliked ‘a dowd’. This reminds me of O Douglas, who also wrote that an interest in dress was compatible with living a Christian life. I rate Mrs Vaizey very highly as a writer.

Sources: The Encyclopaedia of Girls’ School Stories by Sue Sims & Hilary Clare
The GOA Vol. 38

Free from Amazon
Pixie O’Shaughnessy
More About Pixie
The Love Affairs of Pixie
The Lady of the Basement Flat
The Fortunes of the Farrells
The Independence of Claire
(about teachers)
Tom and Some Other Girls
A College Girl
Big Game
Flaming June
Betty Trevor
A Houseful of Girls
The Heart of Una Sackville
(It took me ages to find that one!)
About Peggy Saville
More About Peggy
Sisters Three
Etheldreda the Ready

Books on Project Gutenberg not listed above
Lady Cassandra
The Daughters of a Genius
An Unknown Lover
A Question of Marriage
What a Man Wills
A Girl in Spring-Time

Tags: girlsown books, kindle, mrs vaizey

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