The Rosary Is Jane Eyre Made Worse

Florence L. Barclay’s 1911 bestseller, The Rosary,  is Jane Eyre with a twist.

The Honorable Jane Champion, age 30, “a perfectly beautiful woman in an absolutely plain shell,” is chum, confidant, and adviser to the unmarried young men of her social set.

When she volunteers to fill in for a noted singer with laryngitis at an informal concert at the home of her aunt, the Duchess of Meldrum, Jane’s rendition of “The Rosary” convinces painter Garth Dalmain she is his soul mate.

Jane turns down Dal’s proposal, believing a lover of beauty couldn’t stand to see her plain face every day at breakfast. She doesn’t know that a plain woman, loved, is beautiful to the man who loves her.

When  Dal  is blinded in a freak accident, Jane comes home to nurse him. To keep him from thinking she’s come out of pity, she uses an assumed name and tells Dal people have remarked on how similar her voice is to that of Jane Champion.

Barclay’s plot is very romantic and totally preposterous. Fortunately there are some delightfully unromantic and down-to-earth characters (like Dal’s GP,  the Duchess, and a tucan named Tommy) who rescue the story every time it threatens to drown in a sea of saccharine.

The Rosary
by Florence L. Barclay
1911 bestseller #9
Project Gutenberg EBook #3659
©2011 Linda Gorton Aragoni

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Linda G. Aragoni

I make big ideas simple for learners. In eight sentences, 34 words, I taught teens and adults to write competently. Now I'm writing guides to turn willing volunteers into great nursing home visitors.

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