by Jane Lowy
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Jane Lowy’s literary novel Wobbly Barstool is a Victorian-era tale of friendship and love, whose protagonists display anachronistically progressive mind-sets in a Dickensian milieu of drama and playfulness. The book challenges traditional concepts of morality while ultimately asserting the intrinsic value of marital, familial, and platonic bonds. It may appeal to readers interested in such classic writers as Charles Dickens, Anthony Trollope, or Jane Austen.
Good-natured Wobbly, a young man residing in a Victorian English village, loves Prunella, a London socialite whom he meets during her visit with Wobbly’s cousin, Marigold. Marigold adores brilliant, articulate Tobias, Wobbly’s adopted brother, discovered and befriended by Wobbly when they are boys, the orphaned Tobias having survived for two years wandering a nearby wood with a pack of dogs. As a warm and complex relationship develops among the four, Wobbly and Marigold find themselves in the painful position of imagining that their dearest friends are their rivals, a mutual fascination of sorts existing between Prunella and Tobias who, unknown to any of them, are siblings, Prunella having been forced from her parents at age two by her ruthless, manipulative aunt. Over the next four years, while Marigold waits for Tobias, Wobbly pursues Prunella with gentle persistence as she struggles between her strong sense of filial duty and her growing acceptance and love of Wobbly, whom her adoptive mother adamantly rejects. The course of their lives is, all the while, overseen and subtly influenced by the mysterious solicitor Beggintrade, for reasons of his own.
Wobbly Barstool is meant to offer readers a fun, life-affirming story with memorable characters that they can delight in and love.