By Margaret Oliphant,

Book cover of Hester

Book description

Margaret Oliphant is one of the great Victorian novelists and "Hester" is a masterpiece of psychological realism published in 1883. 
In exploring the difficulty of understanding human nature, it is also a compulsive story of financial and sexual risk-taking that inevitably results in a searing climax.

"Hester" tells the story…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked Hester as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Hester, which came out in 1883, follows two central figures: Miss Catherine, an older woman who runs a bank – in itself quite a surprise to find in a Victorian novel – and Hester, her young relation, who is bored with her dull, ladylike life and wants something more.

What she really wants is to work, as Catherine does, but Catherine is determined that the bank will pass to a man. The novel focuses on their strained relationship – strained partly because they are so very alike. There’s so much I love about Hester, but I especially…

From Katie's list on surprisingly feminist Victorian.

If you think all 19th century novels are either romances or tragedies like Tess of the D’Ubervilles this novel will surprise you. Published in 1883 the novel reflects the English banking crises of the 1850’s, life in a provincial town, and the many ways in which money, whether a man or a woman possesses it, greed for it, the thrill of speculating, and the ability to use it to control others shapes the characters of the strong and the flawed. Hester has to grow and to find her own path against the restrictions of women’s choices and bias against…

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