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A Woman Named Smith by Marie Conway Oemler, Fiction, Romance, Historical, Literary

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So with great trepidation, Sophy Smith, along with her dear friend, Alicia, moves from the busy New York life to the slow drawn out days of South Carolina. Despite hearing music when there was no musician and suggestions that the house was haunted, they were both determined to stay at the Hyndes House. But when the house servants find an old statue buried beneath a tree, t So with great trepidation, Sophy Smith, along with her dear friend, Alicia, moves from the busy New York life to the slow drawn out days of South Carolina. Despite hearing music when there was no musician and suggestions that the house was haunted, they were both determined to stay at the Hyndes House. But when the house servants find an old statue buried beneath a tree, the mysterious life of the old witchy Sophronisba Scarlett begins to unfold.


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So with great trepidation, Sophy Smith, along with her dear friend, Alicia, moves from the busy New York life to the slow drawn out days of South Carolina. Despite hearing music when there was no musician and suggestions that the house was haunted, they were both determined to stay at the Hyndes House. But when the house servants find an old statue buried beneath a tree, t So with great trepidation, Sophy Smith, along with her dear friend, Alicia, moves from the busy New York life to the slow drawn out days of South Carolina. Despite hearing music when there was no musician and suggestions that the house was haunted, they were both determined to stay at the Hyndes House. But when the house servants find an old statue buried beneath a tree, the mysterious life of the old witchy Sophronisba Scarlett begins to unfold.

30 review for A Woman Named Smith by Marie Conway Oemler, Fiction, Romance, Historical, Literary

  1. 5 out of 5

    Dorian

    I was put on to this book by Melody of the excellent Redeeming Qualities blog, and a most pleasing recommendation it turned out to be. Sophronisba Smith (known to her friends as Sophy) is our eponymous heroine and narrator. As the story opens, she has just inherited her namesake great-aunt's house and (the remains of the) family fortune, on condition that she occupies the house and does not attempt to either sell or let it. So off she goes, with her best friend Alicia, to occupy her Colonial mans I was put on to this book by Melody of the excellent Redeeming Qualities blog, and a most pleasing recommendation it turned out to be. Sophronisba Smith (known to her friends as Sophy) is our eponymous heroine and narrator. As the story opens, she has just inherited her namesake great-aunt's house and (the remains of the) family fortune, on condition that she occupies the house and does not attempt to either sell or let it. So off she goes, with her best friend Alicia, to occupy her Colonial mansion in South Carolina. And there they discover family history, and family secrets, and family mysteries, and family feuds. And relations. And two dogs and a family of cats. And a lovely house full of lovely Stuff, and assorted neighbours, and a Socialist furniture restorer, and a benevolent djinni, and a mummy, and all sorts of other fun and games. Oh, and romance. (Of course.) I love the character of Alicia, who is all sweet and wide-eyed and ingénue-ish, and then quietly skewers some condescending pest so neatly that the reader laughs and so sweetly that the target fails to notice. And the lady from Boston who so yearns for the occult, and the lady who is the local "artistic" expert. And the various love interests are variously amusing and pleasing, and of course our Woman Named Smith is very endearing. The plot is maybe a little predictable, especially when it comes to the Family Mysteries, but the real fun is in the characters anyway. It does go on a little longer than I felt was really necessary; the final 10% or so could probably be folded into the preceding 10% and only make the book stronger. But the big downer is the treatment of the non-white characters - while probably Fair For Its Day, it's really rather cringeworthy to the modern reader. Were it not for that, I might have given it four stars.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Alexis Chateau

    One of my favourite books of all-time. She reminds me of a godly, sane Anne Rice, as they share very similar writing styles. For example, there's the blue-eyed bias where half the characters have blue eyes. Both go through extreme lengths to describe flowers we don't know or care to know about. Both favour Southern American settings. And of course, they avoid the use of simple language. I may sound cynical, but I actually did love this book and would recommend it to anyone who likes a good ghost One of my favourite books of all-time. She reminds me of a godly, sane Anne Rice, as they share very similar writing styles. For example, there's the blue-eyed bias where half the characters have blue eyes. Both go through extreme lengths to describe flowers we don't know or care to know about. Both favour Southern American settings. And of course, they avoid the use of simple language. I may sound cynical, but I actually did love this book and would recommend it to anyone who likes a good ghost story with a shot of romance.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Charlene

    A book so sweet that it is hard to say goodbye at the end. The pages of my copy were brittle and yellow with age. At it times was laugh out loud funny and kept my interest till the last page. It was another time and place but people are so the same. I would like a copy for my own library but they are not inexpensive!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Bettielee

    This is everything I wanted in a Gothic story but always forgot to ask for. Wonderful story, characters, creepy old house dripping with history and betrayal and scandal - it's even set in American and I rarely have patience with my own country's gothic tales. Probably helped the main female characters were an English and Irish girl. Ok, maybe the whole "let's all be in love with the main character" trope was a little over-played but oh... I never remember being so sad at finding that an author d This is everything I wanted in a Gothic story but always forgot to ask for. Wonderful story, characters, creepy old house dripping with history and betrayal and scandal - it's even set in American and I rarely have patience with my own country's gothic tales. Probably helped the main female characters were an English and Irish girl. Ok, maybe the whole "let's all be in love with the main character" trope was a little over-played but oh... I never remember being so sad at finding that an author doesn't have more books for me to read! This author only wrote two others -one I honestly have no interest in and the other I cant quite make out what sort of story it is. At least I have this one. Highly recommended for fan of historical fiction, gothic romance, historical romance (the sweet kind) - just so highly recommended. August 25 to 27, 2014 I have read this so many times, but again from 11/29/2016 - 12/1/16

  5. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

    A New York city secretary inherits a haunted mansion in South Carolina, and adventure ensures. It was written in 1919 and is lightweight and light-hearted romance mystery. It reads like someone telling a story, rather than a novel. It's also a curious, nostalgic book. For instance, it was written during World War 1 but never mentions the war. The author relies on some racial and nationalistic stereotypes, which may be uncomfortable for some readers. Overall somewhat amateur effort but a highly en A New York city secretary inherits a haunted mansion in South Carolina, and adventure ensures. It was written in 1919 and is lightweight and light-hearted romance mystery. It reads like someone telling a story, rather than a novel. It's also a curious, nostalgic book. For instance, it was written during World War 1 but never mentions the war. The author relies on some racial and nationalistic stereotypes, which may be uncomfortable for some readers. Overall somewhat amateur effort but a highly enjoyable yarn for all that. Honestly enjoyed it for all its faults. I bought it for kindle but will find a used copy for rereading.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Louise

    As i was shopping w/my daughter at an old and rare bookstore, I found this book which sounded good. I'm glad i purchased it as the story was, somewhat, different compared to others. I like the way that the author developed the story. When Ms Smith inherited the house none of the relatives wanted it; but as she began renovations, and news spread, then they became inquisitive and the story develops from there. I paid more than I expected but although it wasnt a First Edition, it was one of the first As i was shopping w/my daughter at an old and rare bookstore, I found this book which sounded good. I'm glad i purchased it as the story was, somewhat, different compared to others. I like the way that the author developed the story. When Ms Smith inherited the house none of the relatives wanted it; but as she began renovations, and news spread, then they became inquisitive and the story develops from there. I paid more than I expected but although it wasnt a First Edition, it was one of the first year of printing, 1919 or was 1918?

  7. 5 out of 5

    Effie

    This was a fun, quick mystery. It was published in 1919 and is dated in some parts, especially in regards to the portrayal of blacks, women and the Irish. A reference to the popular decorative swastika made me choke on my lunch until I double-checked that date of publication.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    It was a fun, easy read. The story is more a romance than a mystery. I enjoyed the antics of Sophy and Alicia, two younger women from Boston, trying to fit in in South Carolina. All the characters are enjoyable.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Alisha

    I guess I liked it? Kind of an odd book, slow for the majority of the plot and then suddenly goes into macabre thriller territory, and there were plenty of spots where the author kind of dropped the ball and didn't really spend time on the right things. But in spite of that, it was readable. I guess I liked it? Kind of an odd book, slow for the majority of the plot and then suddenly goes into macabre thriller territory, and there were plenty of spots where the author kind of dropped the ball and didn't really spend time on the right things. But in spite of that, it was readable.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    Another Kindle freebie. Oemler's book, stripped down of its magnificent details, would make a hilarious turn of the century comedic play. Romance, intrigue, and a bit of horror abound in this book. A fun read! Another Kindle freebie. Oemler's book, stripped down of its magnificent details, would make a hilarious turn of the century comedic play. Romance, intrigue, and a bit of horror abound in this book. A fun read!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Meisha

    I laughed aloud several times reading this book. The characters are unique and funny, and the author (and The Author for that matter) nsay things just right to capture the sentiment beautifully in the best way possible.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Janelle

    A good but not a great book. Better read as a period romance with supernatural elements than as any sort of mystery or village-piece novel. Sort of a cross between Bronte and L.M. Montgomery, but a bit more detached than either.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany

    I really enjoyed this book. There wasn't anything spectacular, but I loved the characters and the story line kept me interested the whole time. Definitely a fun read. I really enjoyed this book. There wasn't anything spectacular, but I loved the characters and the story line kept me interested the whole time. Definitely a fun read.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Anna Eynaud

    Loved this historical book. It has is all, some murder mystery, love story, and great insight into the South after the Cival war.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Hood

    Very different read for me, but glad I stuck with it!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Charla

    This book was very fun for me. Definitely a book I would loan to a friend- my biggest objection to reading on Kindle format!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Angie

    This was kind of a fun mystery about an old Southern family and their lost jewels with a bit of romance thrown in for good measure.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Colleen Ortiz

  19. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

  20. 4 out of 5

    Chris

  21. 4 out of 5

    Zahra Mctammany

  22. 5 out of 5

    Janet

  23. 4 out of 5

    Brooke Otis

  24. 5 out of 5

    Valerie Litts

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sue Harris

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kierra J,

  27. 4 out of 5

    Roxanne

  28. 4 out of 5

    Marilyn Stein

  29. 4 out of 5

    Darci

  30. 5 out of 5

    Karen

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