Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Joanna Darling; or , The Home at Breakwater

Due to my specialies, for the most part, I don't see older books much at all (though I always like dealing with pre-1900's titles and am always looking for more).

This particular book has been on my shelves awhile and when I first got it, I didn't do much in the way of research.  The author, Virginia F. Townsend, isn't a big name in literature. In fact, she isn't currently well known at all.
But that's ok. Not everyone can be a Hemingway or Fitzgerald.

Since I've had the book for a while, I decided it was time to find out more about the book and the author.

First I poked into the author's background. Virginia Frances Townsend was (according to readseries.com) born in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1836. She had one sister with whom she was very close. Little is known about her life, but as a child she was sickly and turned (as many sickly children did) to reading and writing to keep herself occupied.  by 1856 she was an associate editor for T. S. Arthur's Lady's Home Magazine / Arthur's Home Magazine ( how she got from a sick bed scribbling to an editorship would be a very interesting story, I'm sure).

Her first publication in book form came in 1957 -- a compilation of magazine stories she had previously published.  After that, a number of volumes followed, including the series which became known as the Breakwater Series.

Joanna Darling, or The Home at Breakwater is the first volume in this series.

Joanna Darling is an orphan (as was the case of many books about youths in the 1800's).
Her father and mother died when she was just a baby and she has been raised by her grandfather who was rather a sad sack of a man -- "But the fact was, the wrong lay in some inherent weakness of Jonathan Darling's own character. He lacked promptness, energy, efficiency, and never knew how to take the tide at the hour which should lead him on to success of any sort. He had, on the whole, frittered his life away."

The series, while not much known today, has made its way into references -- Including the Girls Series books: 1840-1991 published by the Children's Literature Research Collections.University of Minnesota Libraries.
Minneapolis, Minnesota.

And actually, the more I read the book -- the more intriguing I'm finding it.

I also found out the copy that I have is NOT a reprint,  but a First edition.


going back and looking more carefully at old stock isn't such a bad thing to do after all.

Now I'm going to have to make time to read the book.

PS: I've currently got this off line, just in case I want to read it, but if you're interested, it's $50.00. Just email for details.

1 comment:

Manhattan Mold removal said...

It is sad when the books take to such patchy molds and restoration is a difficult proposition.There are books we love and we can not part with them...there are modern methods these days for preservation fortunately.