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Jill is the story of an unconventional heroine – a gentlewoman who disguises herself as a maid and runs away to London in search of adventure after her mother dies and her father is pursued by a Victorian gold digger Once in London she uses her position as lady's maid to become close to her mistress Her life above and below stairs is portrayed with irreverent wit in this fast paced story but at the centre of the novel is Jill's unfolding love for the woman she works for On the surface a feminist manifesto Jill is a poignant story of same sex desire and unreuited love A new introduction tells the autobiographical story on which the novel is based the author's own passionate attachment to a woman she called her wife but who she couldn't have

10 thoughts on “Jill

  1. says:

    Well that was awesome A very different Victorian novel wonderfully written with fascinating characters and breaking 19th century conventions left right and centre I loved it

  2. says:

    Y'all are out here combing Middlemarch for hidden homoerotic vibes while Jill here is just out and proud I'd call Jill the love child of Moll Flanders and Villette Jill is the selfish rational heroine I’ve always dreamed of being but can never uite accomplish because my conscience is a nag Girl wants freedom and to piss off her stepmom to boot? Boom runs away from home But none of that Jane Eyre fleeing dramatically from Thornfield then almost dying of starvation nonsense Our girl is prepared and packs off with a thought out escape plan all her jewelry and a solid skill set as a courier maid She becomes courier maid to Kitty a woman who the text explicitly says she wants to be romantically involved with After she's outed by Perkins a nasty dude who's salty she wouldn't kiss him for falsifying her reference she moves on to another post as a lady's maiddog carer She also starts sending her stepmom anonymous threatening letters because she found out about her stepmom's embarrassing past Eventually her dad dies and Jill sails home to become a rich heiress Because she's somewhat gained a conscience while being nursed by sisters after a carriage accident she doesn't expose her stepmom but punts her out anyway because screw living with disapproving parents We stan our gay practical Victorian ueen

  3. says:

    Victorian author Amy Dillwyn came from a remarkable family Her father Lewis Llewelyn Dillwyn was an industrialist and a member of parliament Her uncle John Dillwyn Llewelyn was an early proponent of photography Her grandfather Sir Henry Thomas de la Beche was a geologist And she was an even remarkable womanAfter the death of her brother and father she took over her father’s business on the brink of bankrupcy gave up the family home to run that business and – as a hands on manager – turned it right around and became a prominent figure in her local communityI’m sorry that she isn’t better known but I’m pleased that Honno has been bringing her novels back into printJill published in 1884 was the fourth of Amy Dillwyn’s six novels Its a coming of age story it clearly has elements that are autobiographical and it’s a novel without a hero that’s much fun than that much better novel with the same sobriuetThe credit for that must go to Jill who tells her own story She’s a wonderful character; an utterly believable strong minded independent woman who is willing to do whatever she has to do to get where she wants to go She was far from perfect – she could be manipulative she could be selfish she could be horribly insensitive to the feelings of others – but I couldn’t help liking her and wanting the best for herI loved her voice and I was always intrigued to see what she would do what would happen to her nextJill was the much loved daughter of a prosperous suire but her life changed when her mother died and when a gold digger succeeding in luring her father to the altar She hated her step mother’s new regime especially when she realised she wouldn’t be allowed to come out until her two step sisters had been found husbands That was why she decided to run away and to earn her own living in LondonThe scheme that Jill thought up to get away undetected and unfollowed was very clever And her plan for the future was sensible she would draw on her education to work as a day governess while she learned the things she needed to become a travelling maidShe succeeded and she had a very eventful time but because her references were false things fell apart She became a maid cum kennel maid – a job that nobody else wanted – and her charges made that eventful too An accident sent her to hospital her friendship with the head sister makes her start to think about a new direction in life but then she learns that her father has died and she has inherited the family estateThe story ends with Jill returning home to take on the role of a lady suireIt’s a wonderful story a great entertainment that makes some very firm points about the divisions of sexes and classes in Victorian Britain It has things to say about poverty about housing about healthcare And most of all it speaks about just what women can doThe plotting is very clever there are lots of diverse details and Jill’s telling is laced with wit humour and many many emotions that she goes through over the courses of her adventuresThere were coincidences there were places where the story would have been tightened up a little but the positive things about this book than outweighed the few negativesThe story of Jill’s relationship with Kitty Merryn underpins everything They meet on holiday with their families and become friends; Jill is disappointed when Kitty doesn’t recognise her on the train to London and when Kitty drops her purse she picks it up and keep it; Jill become Kitty’s travelling maid she watches her suitors and wonders about Kitty’s feelings and they escape from bandits together; the story ends with Jill wondering about what life will hold for Kitty who she knows has marriedThe story of unreuited love for another woman echoes Amy Dillwyn’s life; it’s well done and it balances the eventful side of the story And I must and that it’s subtly done than the cover image might suggest Unless I blinked that didn’t happen; nothing like it happenedBut plenty did happen and it made a great story

  4. says:

    My review

  5. says:

    Straying for once out of my comfort zone I came across this on a library shelf and having once worked on the Hendrefoelan campus in Swansea and attended adult education courses at the house which Amy Dillwyn donated to the university I was intrigued The novel is presented by its publisher as primarily a feminist work and while this is clearly at its heart it is just as much a vehicle for observations on life class and social issues in the nineteenth century From the rubric on the back of the book I was rather expecting a in depth exploration of the heroine's sexual and emotional feelings but I am given to understand that ueen Victoria would not even acknowledge the possibility of such things among her own sex and given the moral outlook professed by society at that time this was with hindsight rather unlikely Desire is hinted at but never uite allowed to take centre stageNevertheless the story unfolds in a series of uite riveting episodes albeit in some cases stretching credulity to the limit and Jill herself is engaging both as character and narratorIt would be interesting to see how this novel would have played out if written with the freedom of expression that writers enjoy today

  6. says:

    I loved this It's narrated by Jill a confident practical and unsentimental although not as cold hearted as she would have you believe young woman who introduces herself to the reader by saying she believes women can be just as adventurous as men Stifled by life at home with her governess Jill throws off the advantages of her wealthy upbringing and goes to London in search of workIt was highly refreshing to read a nineteenth century novel from the point of view of a young woman getting on with what she wants to do in life which doesn't include marriage At its heart a sweet and slightly sad story of unreuited love there is plenty of adventure along the way Yes there are some unbelievable coincidences but there's also an array of humorously uirky minor characters that make the book a joy to read

  7. says:

    This was very enjoyable It wasn't as ueer as I was hoping The main character did seem a little obsessed with her mistress but not so than many Victorian novels It was sad that they only had one real scene together but that was really great It was a very interesting book looking at the restraints on women But there was also a bit of negative classism in this book Still I'm really glad that I came across this at the library and definitely want to read books by this author