by Una Silberrad
edited by Kate Macdonald
The Polkingtons are clinging on to the last shreds of Edwardian middle-class respectability. Want of money, and even greater want of a moral compass, mean that their social standing is constantly under threat. Advantageous marriages seem like the only way out for the Polkington daughters; Julia, the middle daughter, is neither pretty nor biddable, and much too clever to lose her independence. Instead, she takes advantage of a family financial crisis to escape her social circle entirely. Working as a housekeeper in the Netherlands, Julia schemes to repay a debt of her father’s by stealing a bulb of the rare, precious blue daffodil. Instead, she gets caught up in a scandal that threatens not only her respectable name but also her ability to repay her debt of honour. Julia’s bravery, intelligence and humour charm the reader into willing her to succeed in her sometimes dubious plots and adventures.
This edition includes:
- Critical introduction by Kate Macdonald
- Una Silberrad bibliography
- Selection of contemporary reviews
Una Silberrad (1872-1963) wrote over 40 books, spanning historical and contemporary fiction. The Good Comrade (1907) questions class structures and boundaries, gender roles and the power of the family, in a story that encompasses rebellion, love, romance, domesticity and espionage, and creates a thoroughly engaging heroine.
Kate Macdonald studied at the University of Aberdeen and University College London, and teaches British literary history at Ghent University, Belgium. A former academic editor, she has published books, book chapters and articles on British publishing history in the later Victorian period and the early twentieth century. She is a leading authority on the fiction of John Buchan, and active in the advancement of middlebrow studies, with an interest in the recovery of forgotten authors. She is a series editor for Pickering & Chatto’s monograph series Literary Texts and the Popular Marketplace. Her podcast series on forgotten fiction is at www.reallylikethisbook.com.