Welcome to The Feminist Bibliothecary’s Lite Reads, where we read a different short story every week, and discuss it here and on social media. This week’s Lite Reads selection is A New England Nun by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman.
A New England Nun was originally published in 1891. The story focuses on New England life for a woman named Louisa who once promised to marry a man, but is now enjoying her life alone. After more than a decade since she made her promise, the man returns with an expectation that they will marry, and they both have to deal with the struggle to adapt to conventions. A New England Nun fits within the genre of local colour, a US-American genre that focuses on a particular region, and on what life and people are like in that region.
Mary Eleanor Wilkins Freeman (1852-1930) was a US-American author of novels and short stories, and she is best remembered for A Humble Romance and Other Stories (1887) and A New England Nun and Other Stories (1891). After her father passed away, she began living solely off of the income her writing brought in until she married. Wilkins was almost fifty years old when she was married, although she did eventually divorce her husband. She lived to be seventy-seven years old.
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