I had never heard of A Woman of Independent Means before, but for some reason it caught my eye on the shelf at the library. It is a short epistolary novel told entirely in letters from the main character, Bess. They span her life from age 10 in 1899 until her death in her 70s, and tell the story of a strong, independent woman. I enjoyed the narrative and it felt as if I could have been reading my great-grandmother’s letters, who was approximately the same generation. The author captured well the changing perspectives and attitudes of the woman as she aged, as well as the changes in society that surrounded her. This book made me nostalgic for the era of letter writing and I am thinking of writing someone a letter now!
I don’t think A Woman of Independent Means is for everywhere, but if you are fascinated with history and the life of ordinary people in the past, as well as with strong female characters (who are far from perfect), you will enjoy it.