Sunday, March 11, 2018

Miss Cayley's Adventures, by Grant Allen

Valancourt Books, 2016
originally serialized in The Strand, 1898-1899
220 pp

Miss Cayley's Adventures is another cross post from my crime fiction page .  Our Miss Cayley is, like Loveday Brooke, an independent woman; they also share similar traits as examples of the "New Woman" of fin-de-si├Ęcle Victorian literature.  Unlike Loveday Brooke, however, Miss Cayley has not chosen detection as her primary occupation; she has just graduated from Girton College and has made up her mind to go "round the world" in search of adventure.  She defines herself as "a bit of a rebel," and has come up with a plan of
"going out, simply in search of adventure.  What adventure may come, I have not at the moment the faintest conception. The fun lies in the search, the uncertainty, the toss-up of it."
The novel is a surprisingly fun hybrid of detection, travel narrative and adventure, with a bit of romance throw in, but it is so much more.  The words "plucky heroine" come to mind, but that's really sort of belittling what author Grant Allen has done here with his lead character. It's a refreshing take on the Victorian New Woman, but there's a LOT going on in this book around our Miss Cayley. The fact that a man wrote this makes the book doubly interesting, in my humble opinion; you can read all about it here.

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