Prudencia Prim is a young woman of intelligence and achievement, with a deep knowledge of literature and several letters after her name. But when she accepts the post of private librarian in the village of San Ireneo de Arnois, she is unprepared for what she encounters there. Her employer, a book-loving intellectual, is dashing yet contrarian, always ready with a critique of her cherished Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott. The neighbours, too, are capable of charm and eccentricity in equal measure, determined as they are to preserve their singular little community from the modern world outside.
Prudencia hoped for friendship in San Ireneo but she didn’t suspect that she might find love – nor that the course of her new life would run quite so rocky, would offer challenge and heartache as well as joy, discovery and fireside debate. The Awakening of Miss Prim is a distinctive and delightfully entertaining tale of literature, philosophy and the search for happiness.
My Review – first posted on Goodreads in June 2014
“Wanted: a feminine spirit quite undaunted by the world to work as a librarian for a gentleman and his books. Able to live with dogs and children. Preferably without work experience. Graduates and postgraduates need not apply.”
Disillusioned with her current job and lifestyle, Prudencia Prim responds to this advert which takes her to San Ireneo. From thereon in life will never be the same. I don’t want to spoil the plot so can only urge you to become acquainted with The Man in the Wingchair and his precocious charges, the delightful members of the San Ireneo Feminist League and the various other characters that inhabit San Ireneo.
Initially one has a feeling of having entered a parallel universe, but it is hard not to feel drawn to the guiding principles and ideologies of the village. The book certainly makes you think about the meaning of life and the nature of society with it’s philosophical debates and sprinkling of literary references.
While Prudencia is very aptly named Prim, part of the charm of the novel is following her development as the villagers begin to chip away at her reserve.
The publishers state that The Awakening of Miss Prim is a delightfully unusual and entertaining tale of literature, love and the search for happiness, I can only concur and heartily recommend it.
I received an e copy of this book via NetGalley in return for an honest review.