6. a women who is skilled in something, as an occupation or art.
According to the Random House Dictionary via Dictionary.com, this is one of many definitions of the word mistress. Unfortunately, nowadays the word usually has a more nefarious connotation, but back in 1935 when this book was copyrighted, the idea that a woman could or should be mistress of her home was completely acceptable, even admirable. It has been a great long while since I first read the Pat books, and certainly it was before I was mistress of my own home, but if I could sum this book up on just a phrase, this would be it: a glorification of all things domestic.
Mistress Pat is the completely charming sequel to Pat of Silver Bush (linked to my review), and indeed, it literally picks up where the first book leaves off. However, Mistress Pat just offers a little glimpse, a vignette, of the Silver Bush doings in the succeeding eleven years. In these years, Pat traverses her joyful and at times painful twenties and watches literally everything about her life change. She has and rejects scores of suitors, to the point that most of her neighbors consider her “on the shelf.” Her one consolation in life, though, is that she still has her home, Silver Bush. I don’t want to reveal the ending of the novel, but I will say that it ends satisfactorily. I will also say that I shed more than one tear in this novel, and it really reminded me of one of the reasons I love Montgomery so much. (I’m a sap–I’ll admit it. Nevermind the fact that I am 19 weeks pregnant AND I had a raging headache when I read the sad bits. As an old acquaintance of mine, an English teacher turned pastor, once said to me, “You just love a good catharsis.”)
Now that all the sobbing is over, let me get back to my original premise–that this book is all about the delights and joys of homemaking. You see, Pat is completely content to simply live in her childhood home and care for it, despite the fact that she has no husband and at times, no real prospects in sight. I enjoyed reading this, and it made me (if only briefly 😉 ) think about mundane tasks a little differently. Of course, based on Montgomery’s descriptive powers, who wouldn’t want to care for Silver Bush, but I digress. . .
It does seem just a trifle odd at times that Pat would give up the prospect of a life of love in her own home to simply keep looking after her childhood home, but of course, it all comes to rights at the end.
I’m so glad Carrie is hosting her L.M. Montgomery Reading Challenge again. It gives me a nudge to do something I probably otherwise wouldn’t find time to do: pull out these delightful old “friends” and visit with them again. Thanks, Carrie!
These are the books (linked to my reviews) I’ve read for this challenge, which I’ve now participated in for two years:
I think my walk with L.M. Montgomery is probably over, at least for the first part of this year. However, I do have another Anne-ish post or two up my sleeve, if I can manage them. Steady Eddie and I spent our honeymoon on P.E.I., after all, and I do have the pictures to prove it. . . 🙂