A serious collector would find nothing of interest here, but this tattered copy of Cranford has found a loving home with this romance writer. I'm a sentimental soul who enjoys holding musty-smelling old books and wondering about the people who have read and treasured them, so I was pleased to see this inscription on the flyleaf:
Who was this Mr. Murray? A handsome romantic, just off to college? Or perhaps a middle-aged banker with three giggling daughters who vied to be the first to read Papa's new book? And how many people read this little volume over the years? Was it often loaned out? Was it passed from one generation of Murrays to the next? Was it read aloud next to coal fires or under gas lamps?
The book's spine is beginning to crumble, so although I have carefully turned its pages and read a few passages, this is not a book to curl up with and savor from start to finish. Many people would snort and declare it a waste of the few dollars that purchased it. But it has provoked my imagination, so I'm calling it priceless.