Wednesday, the 24th of June, and time for Shelf Control once again! Shelf Control is a weekly feature hosted by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies, and celebrates the books waiting to be read on your TBR piles/mountains. To participate, all you do is pick a book from your TBR pile, and write a post about it–what its about, why you want to read it, and such. If you participate, link back to Lisa’s page, and do also leave your links in the comments below as I’d love to check out your picks as well!

This week, my pick is another unread classic, but this one from a series I’ve pretty much read most of the rest of–Salem Chapel by Margaret Oliphant, part of her Carlingford Chronicles. The Chronicles of Carlingford are said to be inspired by Trollope’s Barsetshire series, and are set in a little country town, Carlingford. Each of the books is centred around different characters. This one, Salem Chapel, is the story of young Arthur Vincent, a dissenting minister at Salem Chapel who finds that his congregation of middle-class shopmen and tradespeople is not quite what he was prepared for with his idealism and intellect. Things take a different turn however when he finds himself smitten with the beautiful Lady Western, and involved in a kidnapping case. His sister’s disappearance added to this takes him to breaking point. The book was published in 1863.

I’ve read quite a few books by Oliphant now including five of the Carlingford Chronicles and a few other titles. Many, possibly most I’ve read so far, have rather exceptional and strong heroines, and her endings, I found, are not always predictable–sometimes more realistic than storybook, at others, rather ‘modern’ as well. The Carlingford stories I have read so far are a mix of some rather sweet titles like The Rector, to more ones more serious in tone and theme, but in all of them, the characters and their stories draw one in. As part of the series, and even generally as one of her titles, this one I’m certainly looking forward to picking up sometime. Margaret Oliphant (1838-1897) was a critically acclaimed writer, with over 120 works to her credit including short stories, biographies, histories, and literary criticism.

Have you read this one or any other titles by Oliphant? Which ones and how did you like them? Looking forward to your thoughts and recommendations!

The cover image as always is from Goodreads, and the description of the book from a Margaret Oliphant site here. Find more about her and her works here.

Find Lisa’s pick this week here and Cheryl’s here.


2 thoughts on “Shelf Control #96: Salem Chapel by Margaret Oliphant #Classics

    1. They’re really good–all the ones I’ve read. I too discovered her by chance when I noticed a book (Miss Marjoribanks) on a friend’s shelf. Most are in public domain so if you read ebooks, you can try her out.


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