“Free Reads for your e-reading device–Surprising Finds in the Public Domain! “

Patricia Brent, Spinster | Herbert George Jenkins

Twenty-four-year-old Patricia Brent is upset after overhearing her neighbors discussing her lack of dates. Determined to prove them wrong, she tells them that she is having dinner with her fiancé on the following evening. When they show up to the restaurant to see what he looks like, Patricia is forced to convince a young man dining there to pretend he is her fiancè.  The problem is, now that she’s gained a “fiancè”, how does she get rid of him?

GushFest: Okay, so I’ve read this one a few times (at least four?).  Herbert George Jenkins assembles a delightful cast of characters in WWI era London, from lovable Mr. Triggs in his loud-checked suit, to the flighty Lady Tanagra Bowen, (sister of the “fiancè”), who interferes to manage everyone’s life but can’t manage her own.  One of my favorite gentle romances, it is available for FREE for your ereader/tablet at Project Gutenberg (https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/33353), in formats for multiple ereading platforms.  (If you’d rather listen to it, there is an excellent FREE narration on Librivox by the amazing Anna Simon. (https://librivox.org/patricia-brent-spinster-by-herbert-jenkins/ ; or via the free Librivox App in your favorite App Store)

Quote: “She never has anyone to take her out, and goes nowhere, and yet she can’t be more than twenty-seven, and really she’s not bad-looking.” . . .
“Well, I feel very sorry for her and her loneliness. I am sure she would be much happier if she had a nice young man of her own class to take her about.”
Patricia Brent listened with flaming cheeks. She felt as if someone had struck her. She recognised herself as the object of the speakers’ comments. She could not laugh at the words, because they were true. She was lonely, she had no men friends to take her about, and yet, and yet——
“Twenty-seven,” she muttered indignantly, “and I was only twenty-four last November.”

Agatha’s Aunt | Harriet L. Smith

Nineteen-year-old Agatha Kent is poor, but determined to send her step-brother to college. To this end, she decides to take boarders at the house left to her by her great aunt (also named Agatha).  Alas, every prospective boarder takes one look at her dilapidated home and leaves in disgust. So when she gets a letter from Burton Forbes (whose doctor has prescribed a summer in the country and who is temporarily blind after a bout of malaria), it seems providential. A blind man won’t be able to see the holey carpets, peeling paint, and stained wallpaper. However, Mr. Forbes’ letter makes it clear that he thinks Agatha is her great-aunt, whom he met as a child.
Instead of simply letting Mr. Forbes know his mistake, Agatha decides that since he’s blind, he won’t know that she’s not her aunt, decides to impersonate the said great-aunt (now deceased).  Trouble ensues when Agatha starts to have feelings for her blind charge.  And when his best friend (with perfect vision) plans a visit, what will Agatha do to protect her alias?

Gushfest: This is such a fun read and gentle romance.  The cast of characters also includes Agatha’s stepbrother, and another boarder, a timid and nervous older lady named Miss Finch, who is waiting for the imposture to be found out at any minute.  (Romance appears in Miss Finch’s life also–her solution to which of her two male suitors would be a desirable husband surprised me.) You can find Agatha’s Aunt as a free ebook with multiple formats at Project Gutenberg at this link: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/62516
Quote: “Mr. Burton Forbes wants to engage board for the summer with Miss Agatha Kent. Well, I’m Agatha Kent. He imagines that I’m a nice comfortable old lady with white hair and a double chin. Very well. It would be a hard heart that would disappoint a blind man in such a trifle.”
“You mean,” gasped Miss Finch, “that you’re going to deceive him?”
“Heaven forbid. But I’m not going to undeceive him, Fritz. He assumed certain things about me. Let him keep his illusions, poor soul. He’ll spend a happy summer with his father’s old friend, and then go away and recover, I hope.”

Daddy-Long-Legs | Jean Webster

When Jerusha Abbott, an eighteen-year-old girl living in an orphan asylum, was told that a mysterious millionaire had agreed to pay for her education, it was like a dream come true. For the first time in her life, she had someone she could pretend was “family.” But everything was not perfect, for he chose to remain anonymous and asked that she only write him concerning her progress in school.  He tells her that he will not answer her letters.  Who was this mysterious gentleman?  Would Jerusha ever meet him? 

Gush Sesh: You may have heard of this book because it was made into a movie with Fred Astaire and Leslie Caron. (While I adore both actors, skip the movie–it makes so many changes in the plot that it’s unrecognizable.) You’ll find the feisty and fresh-spirited Judy Abbott (she renames herself) delightful.  The book consists of her letters to “Daddy-Long-Legs”, her millionaire guardian (you’ll have to read the book to find out why she names him that–I’m NOT going to tell you!) Altogether charming and different. 
Here’s the Project Gutenberg link: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/157
Librivox link for a great listen to Daddy-Long-Legs: https://librivox.org/daddy-long-legs-by-jean-webster-2/)

Quote: “It isn’t the great big pleasures that count the most; it’s making a great deal out of the little ones–I’ve discovered the true secret of happiness, Daddy, and that is to live in the now. Not to be forever regretting the past, or anticipating the future; but to get the most that you can out of this very instant.”

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