Novel 016: Mary E. Mann, Moonlight (1898)

James Tissot, The Shop Girl

James Tissot, The Shop Girl


A young woman, daughter of a once-prosperous farmer, is forced by his bankruptcy to seek work in a shop, where she is courted by the local veterinarian.

Mary E. Mann (1848-1929) wrote nearly forty novels between 1883 and 1918. Here she provides (in just one volume)  memorable characters, an unusual setting, a bright style, and an engaging plot.

“Written in a brief, simple, unemphatic style, with never a note forced anywhere, this story yet produces a wonderfully strong effect.... Commonplace persons, with average standards of conduct and quite unideal, even vulgar instincts...are neither rated nor made fun of; merely observed with a wise tolerance and with a tender sympathy for the joys, and the sorrows, and the weariness they share with the more gifted tithe of humanity.  This altogether uncritical yet observant atitude gives us a sense of novelty, and convinces us of the writer’s uncommon power.”  Bookman, January 1999

“An excellent style, a command of natural, crisp, and vivacious dialogue, a firm grasp of character, and a dramatic imagination.”  Speaker, February 25, 1899

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