In my early teens, I read a lot of Virginia/V. C. Andrews’ novels, and Eileen Goudge’s work was recommended as similar. I binge-read her backlist. After the Carson Springs trilogy, the author switched to a new publisher, and the new novels just didn’t attract me like her previous ones. I was growing up, though. And this was before I learned that Eileen Goudge ghost-wrote for Sweet Valley High.
Browsing NetGalley recently, I found Welcome to Carson Springs catalogued by Open Road, and scooped it up. It contains a letter to the reader, a prequel short story, excerpts from the first two Carson Springs novels, two recipes, and a biography with photos from the author’s timeline (that’s a bit weird).
In my teen years, I wouldn’t have blinked at them, but here are two passages from the prequel short story, Heaven on Earth:
“The Miller twins, Olive and Rose, had had the misfortune of being born not only homely but as a matched set; poor things. Only Rose had been lucky enough to find a husband.”
“Gladys, president of St. Xavier’s altar guild, was the one who’d shot down Cora’s suggestion of using wildflowers in this year’s Easter display. Marguerite, nearly as plump as her mother, could have used the same firm hand when it came to doling out sweets, Cora thought.”
And we’re supposed to like Cora Delarosa? She thinks ugly women are “lucky” if they marry. Because only pretty women earn and deserve marriage? And Cora’s fattist, too, as shown in the second passage. Admittedly this story is set in the 1950s, so maybe being a superficial, judgemental bitch was the norm back then. Don’t ask me; I was born in the ’80s.
(For those of you fairy killers: Cora goes back to her husband rather than rooting the handsome stranger. She thinks she’s noble, still better than everyone. But she’s still a bitch.)