Friday, February 14, 2014

Friday Reading Assignment: Spinsters

In (dis)honor of Valentine's day, let's talk about spinsters in literature.  Spinster lit is definitely my favorite genre for comfort reading and most of the spinsters you encounter in literature are funny and smart and have interesting inner lives.

Married women's concept of spinsters.

This list is very Pym heavy, but here are  my favorites (with Amazon affiliate links):

Excellent Women by Barbara Pym:  Mildred Lathbury, church lady, finds love (or maybe just a position as secretary with benefits) through anthropology.

Jane and Prudence by Barbara Pym: Prudence is a somewhat glamorous spinster with a career in London and a crush on her utterly unappealing boss.

No Fond Return of Love by Barbara Pym:  Dulcie Mainwaring tries to fend off her cleaning lady's hints about "daintiness."

Some Tame Gazelle by Barbara Pym:   Belinda and Harriet Bede are spinster sisters.  Harriet flirts with curates, while Belinda has a long-standing, unrequited crush on the vicar.

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson:  Miss Pettigrew, unemployed spinster, takes a job as a maid to a flighty young woman.  Also made into a movie, which was pretty mediocre, in my opinion.

Bridget Jones' Diary by Helen Fielding:  Bridget may be the first modern character in literature to refer to herself as a spinster.

Miss Mole by E. H. Young: Miss Mole has a racy secret in her past.

Miss Buncle's Book by D. E. Stephenson.  Miss Buncle's novel sets off chaos in her quiet village.

Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene: Girl has spinster written all over her.  You know she's never going to marry Ned Nickerson and give up sleuthing.

Patricia Brent, Spinster by Herbert Jenkins:  I haven't read this one, but it's included because of the title.  Here's a review at Leaves and Pages.

Did I miss any? Who are your favorite spinsters in literature?


  1. Well, if Bridget Jones makes your list, then Jo March of Little Women ought to as well! I still haven't read any Barbara Pym. Why haven't I???

    1. Jo March! Of course, although she does get married eventually, she still seems to fit with the spinster group.