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Mrs Leith Adams

(1837—1912) novelist


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(1837–1912) married, first (1869), Andrew Leith Adams (1827–1882) and, secondly (1883), Robert Stuart de Courcy Laffan (1853–1927). A solicitor's daughter, born in Cheshire, she worked on All the Year Round from 1880, and contributed serials to it. Her novels include Nancy's Work: A Church Story (1876), Aunt Hepsy's Foundling (1881), Geoffrey Stirling (1883), Garrison Romance (1892), and Colour Sergeant No. 1 Company (1894), which ran to six editions. She shared the interest of her second husband, a clergyman, headmaster, and social reformer, in widening the educational horizons of the working classes, and ardently campaigned to this end. Her concern for women's issues is evident in Bonnie Kate: A Story From A Woman's Point-of-View (1891), a novel of the New Woman school of the 1890s. Undeserved misfortune is a recurrent theme in Cruel Calumny and Other Stories (1901): in the title story, Dr Crosbie kills Alice Deacon's drunken, violent husband, and marries her, but their lives are ruined by malicious gossip. The Dream of Her Life (1902) includes six sentimental tales of childhood and romance. The title story tells of Edna Gray's love for Dennis Halkett, which is thwarted by his marriage and subsequent death. The theme of lost dreams sets the tone for the volume as a whole. The first part of The Vicar of Dale End (1906), ‘The Descent into Hell’, describes the Reverend Lawrence Amphlett's disintegration after his son takes to crime; the second part, ‘Resurgam’, leads up in true Adams style to his beautiful and redemptive death. Her later publications include Poems (1907), Dreams Made Verity: Stories, Essays and Memories (1910) and Book of Short Plays and A Memory (1912).

From The Oxford Companion to Edwardian Fiction in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Literature.


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