I don't think I've ever read a romance where I found both romantic leads so thoroughly boring. I had no interest in seeing whether they would work it out, was even sort of rooting for the devious and catty rival Muriel to knock Mary aside and snatch the indolent Philip away. And most likely make him miserable for the rest of his life. The charm of this book was in the peripheral characters and in the strong sense of place. Perhaps my favorite character was Phillip's half-grown spaniel pup, with his melodramatic moanings and joyful gambolings and callow slinkings and mournful mopings.
Hardcover, third in a series, in which I have no desire to read further. I inherited this vintage 1949 book from my father, as one of the few mementos of his mother. I never met her, but from his accounts she was a loving and terrifyingly Sicilian lady who, with her cabal of equally terrifying sisters, kept all the rascally extended family in line.
The book itself has some interesting features. I love vintage books. The yellowed and unevenly cut pages. The wonderful smell of musty old libraries. But this one also has the hardcover embossed with a leafy logo, the original price sticker from what used to be a fancy Austin downtown department store, and a delightful rant about teachers and public schools on the back cover. Also, I used one of my favorite old bookmarks, a fundraiser for The Wilderness Society, with a photo of a solitary live oak in a field of bluebonnets and Indian blankets. It is so very Central Texas that it always makes my heart ache a little.