The Benefactress

Elizabeth von ARNIM (1866 - 1941)

Anna Estcourt, twenty-five and beautiful, is the penniless ward of her distant brother and his exasperating wife. Turning down all offers of marriage, scornful at the thought of leaning on a man for help and comfort, she thinks only of the independence which seems an impossible dream. But out of the blue Uncle Joachim, her mother's brother, leaves her a handsome property in Germany. Her longed for independence is within her grasp, and though it's a rocky beginning with the locals, she loves her new home. Keen to use her new-found wealth for the benefit of others, she embarks on a plan to throw open her doors to distressed gentlewomen - a project which takes a far greater physical and emotional toll than she could have imagined. Although she maintains that she is not interested in men, might the friendship of her neighbouring landowner, Axel Lohm, make her new life a little easier to bear?...

A warm, charming story which is packed with Elizabeth von Arnim's trademark humour and wry observation of character. It's also a perceptive critique of society's constraints on women, holding up a glass to all the artfulness and falseness of 'femininity' - but despite its strong feminist overtones, it manages simultaneously to be a wonderful romantic comedy! - Summary by Helen Taylor

Genre(s): Published 1900 onward

Language: English

Section Chapter Reader Time
Play 01 Chapter 1 Helen Taylor
00:21:52
Play 02 Chapter 2 Helen Taylor
00:13:34
Play 03 Chapter 3 Helen Taylor
00:28:55
Play 04 Chapter 4 Helen Taylor
00:11:01
Play 05 Chapter 5 Helen Taylor
00:39:23
Play 06 Chapter 6 Helen Taylor
00:34:44
Play 07 Chapter 7 Helen Taylor
00:34:26
Play 08 Chapter 8 Helen Taylor
00:20:40
Play 09 Chapter 9 Helen Taylor
00:16:01
Play 10 Chapter 10 Helen Taylor
00:29:58
Play 11 Chapter 11 Helen Taylor
00:19:05
Play 12 Chapter 12 Helen Taylor
00:22:54
Play 13 Chapter 13 Helen Taylor
00:18:33
Play 14 Chapter 14 Helen Taylor
00:17:45
Play 15 Chapter 15 Helen Taylor
00:30:13
Play 16 Chapter 16 Helen Taylor
00:15:27
Play 17 Chapter 17 Helen Taylor
00:18:43
Play 18 Chapter 18 Helen Taylor
00:20:41
Play 19 Chapter 19 Helen Taylor
00:18:26
Play 20 Chapter 20 Helen Taylor
00:17:01
Play 21 Chapter 21 Helen Taylor
00:25:38
Play 22 Chapter 22 Helen Taylor
00:23:18
Play 23 Chapter 23 Helen Taylor
00:17:16
Play 24 Chapter 24 Helen Taylor
00:26:04
Play 25 Chapter 25 Helen Taylor
00:11:46
Play 26 Chapter 26 Helen Taylor
00:07:38
Play 27 Chapter 27 Helen Taylor
00:23:14
Play 28 Chapter 28 Helen Taylor
00:21:00
Play 29 Chapter 29 Helen Taylor
00:15:52
Play 30 Chapter 30 Helen Taylor
00:22:48
Play 31 Chapter 31 Helen Taylor
00:32:01
Play 32 Chapter 32 and Conclusion Helen Taylor
00:12:09