Today ended early, as I found one of the books I intended to read on GoogleBooks (the omnibus title came up in search, but not the individual tale...). So one full-length novel, one teeny children's book, and some more tracts (beware of women! and priests! and women with priests!). The novel turned out to be unexpectedly appalling.
- Ellen Carlyon, Amy's Garden (William Macintosh, n.d.). Little Amy and her sibling have gardens. In addition to praising the importance of hard work and dropping some hints about gardening techniques, the author sneaks in some Christian symbolism.
- Anne Bowman, The Rector's Daughter. A Tale for the Young (Routledge, 1864). Up until the last third or so, this is a typical governess novel about people with godly work ethics (mostly female) and people without 'em (mostly male), loaded with allegorical names (Allworth, Contraville, Keenman...). Charles Falkland, the titular rector, dies in the snow, leaving his family to support themselves--which, despite feckless son Lionel, they do. In the last third, however, things get horrific. Rose, the eponymous daughter, goes off to become governess to her uncle's developmentally disabled son, who is severely and graphically abused by his father. With the help of Dr. Rightway, she manages to develop an alternative educational program based on kindness, and young Charles shows noticeable improvement. That is, until Rose goes away for a couple of days, and the father brutalizes Charles so badly that he dies. The uncle has a bad stroke and is left paralyzed, but it does not occur to anyone that murdering one's child is cause for calling the detectives (and there's no sign that readers at the time found this outcome problematic).