Excerpt from A Perfect Stranger by Roxana Robinson, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

A Perfect Stranger

And other stories

by Roxana Robinson

A Perfect Stranger by Roxana Robinson
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Apr 2005, 256 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2006, 256 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


This Christmas we had arrived late. The drive was a long one, and by the time we got there, it was dark, and Grandmère and Grandpère had already had dinner. Our parents were to have trays in front of the fire in the living room, and we chil- dren were sent into the kitchen, where Molly would give us our supper.

Molly was Irish and fierce, with pale blue eyes and a cloud of fine white hair. She had slim arms and slim legs and a thick middle. Her hands and feet were small, and she moved fast. She wore a white uniform, a white apron, and brown lace-up shoes with thick low heels. She ruled the kitchen absolutely. We never did anything to make Molly mad. She would have our heads. That's what she told us, shaking her own wild white head fiercely, and we believed her.

Molly had a husband named Bud, but he was a mysterious figure, like the bobcats; we had never seen him. We did know Molly's son, Richard, who was my grandparents' chauffeur. He was fat, and moved slowly. We children had a poor opinion of him. We called him Ree-ard, which we thought was funny. When he wasn't driving my grandparents' long black car, Ree-ard sat on a chair in the kitchen, near the back stairs. He took off his black coat and sat in his shirtsleeves, his white shirt vast and billowy. He looked like a lump, and sometimes Molly told him that, whirling suddenly from the big stove and rounding on him, laying into him without mercy. Molly might do that to anyone, at any moment—erupt into a high foamy rage, and say things with her fierce, thin Irish lips that you never wanted to hear.

But Molly was nice to us, and we liked her. That evening we pushed through the swinging door into the pantry and filed into the kitchen. Molly turned at once from the stove.

"Ah, here they all are, then," she said, her Irish accent thick. Molly's mouth didn't smile easily, but her eyes did. "Come over here and let me have a look at you." We presented ourselves expectantly, waiting to see what she would find. "You're growing," she said warningly to Sam, as though this was something he should look out for, and to me she said accusingly, "Where's that tooth gone?" I had no answer, but I knew she was not angry. She put her hands on our heads approvingly, as though we belonged to her, then she moved briskly back to the stove. "I'm going to take this out to your parents first, so you all sit down at the table and don't make any trouble." We didn't need to be told that. Making trouble in Molly's kitchen was the last thing in the world we would consider doing.

We sat and waited for her to come back. Tweenie lay on a towel next to her bowl, which had milk in it. She eyed us disagreeably.

"I hate Tweenie," I said and made a face at her.

Jonathan always disagreed with me. "She's just a dog," he said scornfully. "Why would you hate a dog?"

"She looks like a snake," Abby said. "Look at her."

We looked at her. Tweenie looked back at us, ready to bite.

"Where's Huge?" Jonathan asked.

"In with the grown-ups," Sam said. "We can't bring him in here because he'll upset Tweenie."

"Oh, Tweenie," I said with loathing, rolling my eyes.

Molly pushed through from the pantry, her low bosom and portly middle preceding her. Her neat lace-up shoes pointed outward when she walked. "Now, then," she said energetically, "come get your plates and I'll put some food on them." We lined up, and Molly loaded our plates. We sat down again at the table. Molly was at the stove, her back to us.

Excerpted from A Perfect Stranger by Roxana Robinson Copyright © 2005 by Roxana Robinson. Excerpted by permission of Random House, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Discover your next great read here

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Music of the Ghosts
    Music of the Ghosts
    by Vaddey Ratner
    Music of the Ghosts is about healing and forgiveness, but it is also about identity and the revival ...
  • Book Jacket: Castle of Water
    Castle of Water
    by Dane Huckelbridge
    When a whopping 24 out of 27 readers give a book 4 or 5 stars, you know you have a winner on your ...
  • Book Jacket: Havana
    Havana
    by Mark Kurlansky
    History with flavor...culture with spice...language with gusto...it would be hard to find a better ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Nest
by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

A funny and acutely perceptive debut about four siblings and the fate of their shared inheritance.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    No One Is Coming to Save Us
    by Stephanie Powell Watts

    One of Entertainment Weekly, Nylon and Elle's most anticipated books of 2017.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Manderley Forever
    by Tatiana de Rosnay

    Bestselling author Tatiana de Rosnay pays homage to Daphne du Maurier.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world...

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Y S M B, I'll S Y

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
Modal popup -