The Wise and The Foolish Virgins
Today’s Free Kindle eBook: The Wise and The Foolish Virgins
A large northern seaport in 1930s England… Catherine Malley, a delicate schoolgirl from an impoverished family of questionable repute, seeks solace in her studies, her daydreams and the cherished weekly privilege of cleaning Miss Gatty’s kitchen. Miss Gatty, the long-standing disciplinarian and bully of Orange Street School, quick to pass judgement and to dismiss the potential, or indeed human worth, of any ‘slum’ child that comes under her rule. Miss Gatty, also Catherine Malley’s idol and object of complete devotion, around which Catherine’s world revolves unnoticed and unappreciated.Mrs Malley, drunk, penniless and promiscuous; mother to eleven illegitimate children, including Catherine, all living in one room, visited by a long succession of ‘father figures’, each of them posing a risk to the young brood. Catherine, almost a teenager, mourns the loss of two sisters to prostitution and a brother to prison, and assumes the role of primary carer for the little ones when she’s not at school or cleaning at Miss Gatty’s. All the while she dreams of salvation…Perhaps from Miss Gatty, perhaps from the smiling man she saw on the river, perhaps from God himself. But is new life possible when all around is so dismal and sordid? The Wise and The Foolish Virgins is a thrilling literary tale that chronicles the struggle to carve out a new life. Praise for Marguerite Steen ‘Miss Steen is a superb manipulator of scene, and she makes her places as alive as her people’ – Daily Telegraph ‘Rich and enjoyable’ – The Observer ‘fine scenes and piquant portriats’ – The Sunday Times ‘a vivid narrative’ – Manchester Guardian ‘full of colour and character’ – John o’ London’s Weekly ‘rich, lavish, violent, passionate’ – Evening News Marguerite Steen (12 May 1894 – 4 August 1975) was a British writer. Very much at home among creative people, she wrote biographies of the Terrys, of her friend Hugh Walpole, of the 18th century poet and actress (and sometime mistress to the Prince of Wales) Mary ‘Perdita’ Robinson, and of her own lover, the artist Sir William Nicholson. Her first major success was Matador, for which she drew on her love of Spain, and of bullfighting. Also a best-seller on both sides of the Atlantic was her massive saga of the slave-trade and Bristol shipping, The Sun Is My Undoing. She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1951.
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