”Man and Maid” might sound like the working title of something 11 year-old Jane Austen jotted down during recess, and whilst this might not be E. Nesbit's most imaginative of titles, she makes up for this in fantastic, magical storytelling.
This collection of 13 short stories is a treat intended for adults – a rare audience for Nesbit - which in turn allows her to explore her penchant for horror and romance. Thus, true to her style and this book being a product of 1906, the protagonists are often women, the settings are realistic and relatable and the reader should expect neither brain-bursting aliens or awkward, graphic sex scenes in the style of Haruki Murakami.
Instead this collection jumps leisurely from haunted manors and creepy wax figures to writers with a broken heart, mysterious train encounters and the 31-page juggernaut 'The Millionairess' about an old love triangle padded with even older money.
To sum up, ”Man and Maid” is very much a mixed bag of stories to cater to a variety of tastes. Edith Nesbit (1858 – 1924) (married name Edith Bland) was a prolific English author and poet, writing primarily children's books under the pen name E. Nesbit. Her work often characterized by a mix of realistic settings with fantastical elements, Nesbit went on to influence writers such as C.S. Lewis and J.K. Rowling. Her most notable works include ”Five Children and It” (1902) and ”The Railway Children” (1906) which have never gone out of print.
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