Bachelor Girl by Roger Lea MacBride
reviewed by Deb Houdek Rule
Bachelor Girl was a nice closing episode to the ‘Rose’ series of books. It was a well-chosen ending place to the story as Rose clearly is leaving the child world and entering that of the adult at the end.
The ‘Rose’ series, overall, makes a nice compliment to the original ‘Laura’ series–not as good, mind you, but a decent sequel. The series starts off a bit slow and uneventfully, but picks up in the later books. I’d recommend them to young readers who’ve read the ‘Laura’ books and want more of the story. They don’t have, and won’t give, the same historical sense as the original series, however, as they lack that element of first-hand flavor Laura was able to give to an era she actually lived through.
Now the nit-picking critique…I found myself questioning the portrayal of Rose’s personality in this 8th book. In the previous books she’d been pridefully, almost arrogantly, confident in her intelligence and educational achievements. Though she hadn’t socialized well with kids her age she had been bold and out-going in other ways (dating a college man, etc.). Now, grownup and on her own, Rose is suddenly shy and uncertain, letting herself be trod upon and looked down upon. And tell me, would a girl who had managed to learn fluent Latin in less than a year have to look up the definition of “inhibitions”? Laura, even when she was being a proper young lady, always held onto her inner rebelliousness–Rose’s seems to have been nearly snuffed out in most of this book.
I also wondered about her sudden interest in being a housewife. Flirting with the idea of playing house with Paul could have worked better if it had been clearly battling inside her with her desire for independence. The entire Paul relationship was not quite as deftly worked as it could have been. Its resolution was foreshadowed in a clunky, predictable way. It was interesting to meet Rose’s future husband (and future ex-husband), Gillette Lane. He was not fully fleshed out as a character, but one could see how he would both fascinate her with his flash and style and, regrettably, the traits that could make the relationship fall apart later.
Oddly, San Francisco didn’t come to life in the story. A curious omission was the cable cars. I never quite felt I could place her within the City even though several specific places were mentioned (including places where the, mentioned, street cars would have been cable cars). The atmosphere was missing.
Something I would have liked to have seen hints of was Rose’s future career as a journalist. Though she wrote many letters (were these historically authentic? ), the inclination to a writing career didn’t come through.
Though these books were written as childrens’ or young adults’ stories–fiction based on fact– I would dearly have loved to have seen an “historical notes” section at the end.