Parlor Games

Parlor GamesParlor Games
by Maryka Biaggio

In researching women to feature as monologuists in this year’s Advent presentation (read the Women of Christmas post here), I picked up this book off the new shelf at my local library. It’s fiction, but based on a real lady: May Dugas of my own home state of Micharctica.

May was a woman ahead of her time. Her escapades as swindler and prostitute carried her all over the world in an era where most women’s prospects were limited to settling down with a local man to practice homemaking in her own hometown. May seems to have been allergic to the domestic arts. Traveling instead to far off locales, engaging in love affairs with exotic men, alas she seems only ever to have fallen for the ones she couldn’t have.

While she’s decided not to appear in the Christmas show— she’s long gone, and also in Hong Kong— I think she’s a fine example of initiative and tenacity, if not a bit outlandish and selfish.

And isn’t the cover photo gorgeous?

A leisurely paced novel, it jumps back and forth pleasantly between May’s court appearances in 1917 and her reminiscences of adventures between 1887 and the early part of the 20th century. A relaxing, enjoyable read which would be even more delicious savored in front of a cozy fire this winter.

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