How can a book about dull people be so fascinating? I don’t know the exact secret (and I may have to reread to ferret that one out) but all I know is that Frances Hodgson Burnett has done it with “The Making of the Marchioness”! It’s also a page-turning read into the bargain. I read “The Shuttle” by her this summer and oh, how I reveled in it. Hodgson Burnett writes so clearly- which is unusual for a Victorian writer and why she’s such an excellent children’s writer as well. In “The Shuttle”, I sailed through on her clear writing and it’s always interesting on how uncluttered writing presents melodrama. Because, of course, “The Shuttle” and “The Making of the Marchioness” have delightful melodrama (these aren’t children’s books by the way, they’re for adults). I suppose her good use of characterization prevents melodrama in it’s truest sense but oh! There are parts of “bad people doing thrillingly bad things” where I hugged myself in glee instead of thinking flatly, “well, that’s one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard of.”
The girl has got the goods. Hodgson Burnett may not be considered the 3l33t of the lit world but she knew her craft and she knew how to write a great story.