Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Spinner in the Sun by Myrtle Reed

393 pages
Published 1906
G. P. Putnam's Sons
The Knickerbocker Press
New York and London

I'd almost forgotten about Myrtle Reed until my friend Veronica mentioned she'd read a wonderful story that I HAD to read. Remembering how much I enjoyed A Weaver of Dreams I immediately checked my library to see if a copy of A Spinner in the Sun was available. And as luck would have it, it was available through Inter Library Loan!

Some readers would class A Spinner in the Sun as a romance for on the surface it is the story of two women and their journey to true love and happiness. But I found, in typical Myrtle Reed fashion, this novel contains more than just a love story or two within its pages. Woven seamlessly into the story is a study of the heart: of bitterness and forgiveness; of hope and faith and the total lack thereof; of what could have been and of what is; and of second chances.

It is Evelina, the leading lady and heroine, that the title A Spinner in the Sun refers to. For 25 years prior to the story's opening Evelina was betrayed by love and has since suffered alone and in the dark with scars that cause her to hide he face behind a veil of white chiffon. A Spinner in the Sun is her journey from loss and bitterness to the discovery of hope and faith that lead to forgiveness, true love and pure joy.

The supporting lady within this tale is Araminta (a.k.a Minta), a young woman who has been raised from infanthood by her spinster aunt after the death of her parents. Thanks to her aunt's rather peculiar and alarming views on life Minta reaches adulthood extremely sheltered and with some peculiar outlooks on life and marriage in particular. Enter the dashing prince who must rescue the maiden and help her discover that true love is a worthy thing after all!

Of course A Spinner in the Sun wouldn't be complete without a colorful supporting cast that add depth to the story with their pitiful, despicable, laughable, or lovable personalities and dialogue. Minta's part of the story and her prince charming definitely add to the wittiness of this book and help lighten the mood after dealing with some of the darker and deeper issues and scenes within the story. (*Note within the story there is a suicide and a brief scene of animal cruelty.)

At this point (and at the risk of a bit of a spoiler) I should probably note that while Myrtle Reed seemed to have a gift for capturing the psychology of humans within her novels, including the most lovable and beautiful traits complete with the happily ever afters, she herself was far from happy. Although married and a best-selling author, Myrtle Reed ended her life at the age of 36, listing unhappiness and her husband's ill treatment of her as her reasons. I can't help but think some of the emotions and issues Myrtle addresses within A Spinner in the Sun were emotions and issues she found in her own self and own life. It's just a shame she wasn't able to reach the same point of happiness that her heroines do.

Overall I enjoyed A Spinner in the Sun. It isn't just another early 20th century version of chic-lit. It's a worthy read for those looking for a somewhat unconventional 20th century romance. Not able to find a printed copy through your library? No worries, FREE electronic copies are available at,, and Or you can purchase a copy through various online sellers.

Stay tuned for my next Myrtle Reed review, Lavender and Old Lace, which will be posted next week.

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Dana said...

Oh, this sounds like a great read. And thanks for pointing me the free electronic copies!

Maritza said...

Just found this story online of which I thoroughly enjoyed reading in one day. It certainly was a very old fashioned tale of broken hearts, dreams and misery. But also of coming to life, blooming and forgiveness. So many elements woven into this story aside from being that of romance - that of cruelty, depression, ignorance, cowardliness and misguided responsibility but also of kindness, innocence, understanding, hope and growth as well as finding one's voice. Refreshing to read with the way modern writers are confusing lust for romance and not really dealing with the emotional aspect of truly falling in love in mind, heart and soul. A beautiful classic must read.