Noel Streatfeild E.B.C. Jones - Essay

E.B.C. Jones

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Sarah, the would-be governess, when we first meet her [in Shepherdess of Sheep] is a chattering girl of nineteen, common, commonsensical, and far from engaging. She carries a certain conviction. But she never develops through all the years of our acquaintance. The plot of Shepherdess of Sheep requires that we should become aware of a great power of devotion in her, that we should believe in the love she felt for her charges, especially the neurotic Jane, for their mother, and for the young doctor whom she sacrifices to duty; but to convey feeling is one of the things of which, it appears, Miss Streatfeild is incapable. I have seldom read a book with less feeling in it, and this makes all that occurs a sort of busy but empty charade. Perhaps Miss Streatfeild was misled by injudicious praise of her earlier books into taking on a far too ambitious theme. Her talent, judging by Shepherdess of Sheep only, is for light, slight caricature. Her prose, never distinguished, is often bad; this would be less noticeable in a frivolous book.

E.B.C. Jones, "New Novels: 'Shepherdess of Sheep'," in The New Statesman & Nation (© 1935 The Statesman & Nation Publishing Co. Ltd.), Vol. IX, No. 202, January 5, 1935, p. 20.