Ruth M(abel) Arthur Virginia Haviland - Essay

Virginia Haviland

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Willow Forrester, who hopes someday to become a concert pianist …, suffers a "nervous breakdown" when she learns she has been adopted; and she has to be absent from boarding school for a term. In the quiet atmosphere and beauty of a Cornish guesthouse by the sea, Willow shakes off her depression…. [Requiem for a Princess] is remarkable not only for its vivid expression but also for its unusual structure—the paralleling of Willow's situation with that of another orphan through Willow's dreams of a sixteenth-century girl…. (p. 211)

Virginia Haviland, in The Horn Book Magazine (copyright © 1967, by The Horn Book, Inc., Boston), April, 1967.

Requiem for a Princess is a much less subtle performance than [Ruth Arthur's] earlier book of youth and hauntings [A Candle in Her Room]…. [Willow, the narrator,] is a schoolgirl with unusual gifts as a pianist. Though happy enough with her parents, she is appalled to learn, from a tactless friend, that she is their adopted daughter…. Ill and dispirited, she goes with her mother to Cornwall, where they stay at a private hotel, once an Elizabethan manor, home of the Tresilian family….

[Something] does catch Willow's interest—a portrait of a young girl in Elizabethan clothes "with huge dark eyes and elaborate hair style" [who turns out to be an ancestor of the family, also...

(The entire section is 592 words.)