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Lady Rose and Mrs Memmary

by Ruby Ferguson
Persephone book no:

52 53 54

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The Far Cry
A Well Full of Leaves
Regular price £14.00
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ISBN 9781903155431

Like Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, this 1937 novel is a fairy tale for grown-ups, but one 'with an uneasy crash into social reality', as Candia McWilliam puts it in her preface.

It begins when Lady Rose Targenet, born in the 1850s, becomes Lady Galowrie when she is 19 and, suitably, marries Sir Hector, the owner of the estate next to 'Keepsfield', the palatial Scottish mansion where she lives. Some years later, she goes into Edinburgh to see her lawyer - and meets the love of her life on a park bench in Princes Street Gardens...

Candia McWilliam adds, 'It's a little book about dreams and the hard world of money and position and their relations to one another. It's also a love story and a love letter - to Scotland'.  We were not surprised to be told, by Ruby Ferguson's granddaughter, that the then Queen Elizabeth, later the Queen Mother, loved the book so much that she invited its author to a luncheon at Buckingham Palace and begged her for a sequel.

Lady Rose and Mrs Memmary has an unusually captivating quality; the Guardian called it 'a curious, affecting confection of high Scots romance and social realism.'


We chose this 1937 cotton printed dress fabric, made for the Calico Printers Association, because the fairy tale element of the 'Masqueraders' (as the fabric is called) suited Lady Rose so admirably, hinging as it does on themes of disguise and changed identity. And the flower in the frieze might be roses.

Picture Caption

‘Keepsfield’, the house in Lady Rose and Mrs Memmary, is obviously not a ‘real’ house; but Hopetoun has many similarities to it.

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Categories: Love Story Scotland

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