Book Review #3 – Daisy Miller, by Henry James

Hello sweet readers!

It’s time for another review. This one is about the first book I completed for The Classics Club. I’m going to talk about Daisy Miller, by Henry James.

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First things first, I want to thank my great friend Ana for lending me her copy of this one! I decided to start with this for no particular reason. It’s very short so I though I could read it between another book I’m currently in the middle of. I don’t usually do this but no harm was done.

Daisy Miller was written by Henry James, an american writer. His novels are know for showing how americans used to relate with Europe and european people. This is one of the subjects of this book.

The story starts with a young man called Frederick Winterbourne that, while visiting his aunt in Vevey, Switzerland, meets a very beautiful girl called Daisy Miller. They go on a “date” while in Vevey but then they have to be apart for some time. After that, their paths cross again in Rome, even though things aren’t exactly the same.

I must say, I didn’t particularly enjoyed this one. I seem to have a problem with romances from the 19th century. The relationships between the people on these books seem so unreal. I believe it was probably the way they actually behaved but it comes across as fake to me. The author is know for believing that a novel should be as realistic as possible so it is possible that the problem is with me. It also grinds my gears how women are portrait. They’re silly and light-headed. When they are portrait with some personality, it is to be a constant example of bad behaviour. Daisy is the only one with a bit of spark to her. She does what she wants and she doesn’t care even a bit. All the other characters were a little bland to be honest.

The themes are clear: how different cultures perceive each others and how an individual behaviour can be inserted in a society. All characters have various opinions, especially on Daisy’s way of living. I think the length of this book cuts a lot on the character development. With 90 pages (in my copy) we know very little about of all these people. With more pages, I would probably had developed a deeper connection with them. You can only truly like someone if you know more than a couple of things about them, right?

Since it was such a small book, there’s not a lot to talk about. I liked the overall plot but not the characters and the way they behaved with each others. It’s a nice introductory book to 19th century romances but The Wuthering Heights is still my favourite (even though it’s very different book from Daisy Miller).

Here’s one thing said by Daisy that I really liked:

“I have never allowed a gentleman to dictate to me, or to interfere with anything I do.”

If you read this one, tell me what you thought.

Thank you for taking the time to read what I write.

Cat.

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One thought on “Book Review #3 – Daisy Miller, by Henry James

  1. Oh I think I would have a hard time with that myself. It drives me crazy when women are shown like that. Might have been true for some (or many) during that time but I would much rather the rebel women of the time who had a bit more fire in them. Sorry to hear this one was more of a miss for you.

    Liked by 1 person

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