Miss Bishop Is a Sentimental Sweetheart

As long as you don’t expect anything but pleasant diversion, Bess Streeter Aldrich’s classic Miss Bishop won’t disappoint you.

When Ella Bishop enrolls in the first class at Midwestern College in 1876, she has two dresses, an extroverted personality, and boundless enthusiasm for wholesome activities.

After graduating, Ella stays on to teach grammar until she marries. But Ella never marries. Instead, she devotes her life to family, friends, and students.

With extraordinary strength, Ella resists the temptation of an affair with a colleague, tenderly cares for her widowed mother who can’t even complete a sentence by herself, and practically adopts the lover who jilted her.

We all know someone who has done things just as extraordinary, but no real person would have those kinds of experiences and not be changed by them. Ella, however, never grows. She’s as mature at 60 as she was at 16. In her entire lifetime, the only thing that changes about Ella is her hair color.

Although sappily sentimental, Miss Bishop is so well constructed and Ella herself such a lovely person that you probably won’t want to put this novel down. And you might even blow your nose loudly once or twice as you read.

Miss Bishop
By Bess Streeter Aldrich
Appleton-Century, 1938
337 pages
My grade: C+

© 2013 Linda Gorton Aragoni


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Linda Aragoni

I'm passionate about helping people learn through the medium of nonfiction writing. Although I occasionally have an idea of my own, I mostly build education tools by recycling and repurposing other folks' ideas.

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