At the Sign of the Star

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9780374304492: At the Sign of the Star

The tale of a bookseller's daughter

Meg Moore is the motherless and only child of a bookseller with a thriving business in Restoration London-and that makes her an heiress. She knows that someday she will have her pick of suitors, and that with the right husband she can continue in the book trade and be friends with wits and authors, as her father is. But Mr. Moore's unexpected marriage throws all Meg's dreams into confusion. Meg resists the overtures and edicts of her stepmother with a cleverness equaled only by her fierceness, but in spite of it all her rival's belly soon swells with what Meg fears will be her father's new heir. Meg seeks wisdom from almanacs and astrologers, plays and books of jests, guides for ladies and guides for midwives. Yet it is through her own experience that she finds a new matrimony with which to face her unknown future. This vibrant novel recreates a lively and fascinating historical period when women claimed a new and more active role in London's literary scene.

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About the Author:

Katherine Sturtevant is also author of A Mistress Moderately Fair, a historical novel for adults, and Our Sister's London: Feminist Walking Tours. She lives in Berkeley, California.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

We all went to church together, winding our way through the streets, while a fiddler and a drummer led the way. There was much merriment, and it was hard for the guests to grow sober for the ceremony. I sat near to old Mr. Bledsoe, who wanted to tickle me throughout, which I did not want. So I changed places with Hester, who frowned at him until he became sulky. By then the sermon on matrimony was nearly over.

And then came my last chance, for Reverend Little said solemnly: "If any man can show any just cause, why they may not lawfully be joined together, let him now speak, or else hereafter for ever hold his peace."

I clasped my gloved hands together tightly and prayed to hear a voice ring out, but there was only giggling and snoring. So Reverend Little spoke on, and asked my father if he would take Susannah Beckwith to be his wife, "forsaking all other," and my father said he would. Then he came to the ring, which my father put on the fourth finger of her left hand, for there is a vein there that runs straight to the heart, they say. And at last he said: "With this ring I thee wed, with my body I thee worship, and with all my worldly goods I thee endow."

Those worldly goods were supposed to be mine.

Then we all went home again. Someone broke a cake over Susannah's head when she went through the door, as is the custom, but I wished it were a brick instead.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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