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Publisher's Summary

When their father dies, none of the three Harcourt girls are particularly upset. The loss of the family's income, however, is not something so easily overcome. When their mother Anna discovers that they have been left penniless, she decides to move them out of London and back to her hometown in Scotland. Helen, the demanding eldest sister, decamps almost immediately to Edinburgh in search of the excitement and refinement Ryddelton cannot offer. Rosalie, having always lived in her more beautiful eldest sister's shadow, begins to come into her own. And Jane finds an education she could never have gotten at Oxford in her work as a secretary for Mrs Millard, an eccentric biographer currently residing in the village. Anna's daughters seem to be settling down to their new life until Ronnie, a tall, broad-shouldered scientist, steps into their lives....

©1958 D. E. Stevenson (P)2022 Isis Publishing Ltd

What listeners say about Anna and Her Daughters

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Sisters in Scotland

Anna and her three teenage daughters are left with very little money when Anna's husband Gerald dies suddenly. They had been living a lavish lifestyle in fashionable London. Helen, the beautiful eldest was about to "come out", the middle daughter Rosalie had been going to spend some time in France to be "finished" and the youngest Jane at 17 had been accepted at Oxford. These plans all had to be canceled and Anna decided that instead of staying in London attempting to economize and live in the edge of their old lives, they would be better off returning to her old home area of Scotland, a small town in the Boarders area. The two elder sisters object but Jane enters into the new adventure with enthusiasm. This book has so many layers. Like many D. E. Stevenson books, one layer shows English people adjusting to life in Scotland. Then there is the adjustments all four women make to their less lavish life on a reduced income. Jobs are found for all three sisters, each grows and develops in various ways. There is romance and heartbreak, and much more.

The novel is narrated by the youngest daughter, Jane, which makes it very suitable for an audiobook. I thought that Candida Gubbins did a very good job of starting her narration as the very young, confused and uncertain 17 year old Jane and slowly transitioning to the mature and confident Jane who is probably in her 30's by the end of the novel.

Highly recommended to all who enjoy D. E. Stevenson's books or books about Scotland or what is sometimes called "middlebrow women's fiction." A sort of fictional biography or memoir. I like Jane and can wish that a sequel had been written.

Those who have read other novels by D. E. Stevenson will recognize the village/town of Ryddelton, and enjoy short mentions of characters who were featured in earlier books, including Listening Valley, Celia's House, Katherine Wentworth, and Mrs Tim Flies Home. However, it is not necessary to have read them first.

4 people found this helpful

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Amazing how a bad woman

can ruin so many lives...thanks to the author for making the interim good. DE Stevensons books are always just what I need.

1 person found this helpful

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Great Story, So-So Performance

One of my favorite D. E. Stevenson stories, Anna and Her Daughters explores some of the problems of sibling rivalry - particularly when one sibling is brilliant. Candida Gubbins' performance is okay, except for her rendering of the hero's voice, which the author describes as a deep voice, but which the narrator has higher than her normal speaking voice and with the cracked quality of a nervous adolescent. Other than that, I enjoyed the reading.

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Predictable Plot

The prose is fine, But the plot is annoyingly predictable and unoriginal. Well performed by the reader.