MISS PEABODY'S INHERITANCE book cover Miss Peabody's Inheritance 1983
Cover design by Christopher McVinish using an illustration by Cynthia Breusch

Dustjacket synopsis:
"In this powerful tale of love and loneliness, Elizabeth Jolley has woven two parallel stories into a dazzlingly original novel. Arabella Thorne, a cultured and eccentric schoolmistress, travels to Europe accompanied by a shy schoolgirl and the jealous Miss Edgely. Meanwhile, the Australian novelist Diana Hopewell answers a letter from Miss Peabody, an incompetent clerical worker living in a London suburb, and the ensuing correspondence between the two women changes Miss Peabody's life and personality dramatically."

"A delightful novel...with enough twists and unexpected turns to engage the reader totally." - Jean Bedford, Natoonal Times
"The savagery of her writing is exhilarating, so is the sharpness of her wit." Marion Halligan, Canberra Times
"The author is always in comlete control of her characters, her material, and her readers." - William Noonan, Australian
"Breaks new ground in its original and imaginative conception." - Laurie Clancy, Australian Book Review

First Paragraph:

The nights belong to the novelist.

I have a Headmistress in mind, you know, a tremendously responsible sort of woman, the novelist's large handwriting was black on large sheets of paper. The name of the Headmistress is Dr Arabella Thorne; she is known as Miss Thorne. Every afternoon she walks down from the School House through the warm fragrance of a small pine plantation.

she always forgets about the pines and then suddenly she is in the middle of the sandy pine-needly place, walking on a little beatenpath. She feels refreshed by the dry lightness of the air and the clean comforting scent from the sun-warmed trees.

It is surprising that she forgets because the school is called Pine Heights.

From the UQP paperback edition, 1987.

This page and its contents are copyright © 2001 by Perry Middlemiss, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

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Last modified: September 11, 2001.