by Cynthia Ozick
Place: New York
Protagonist: 18-year-old Rose Meadows
Orphaned at eighteen, Rose Meadows sets out to make her way in the world. Her only connection is her cousin, Bertram, who is only a distant cousin by marriage. She answers an advertisement for a position with a professor, and the adventure begins. . .
Professor Mitwisser and his family are German refugees, and their lifestyle is a little strange, to say the least. With a reclusive wife, five children, and very little money, the professor has his hands full. That’s where Rose enters the picture. She isn’t the assistant to the academic that she thought she’d be. She is hired as more of a household assistant/controller of Frau Mitwisser.
The Mitwisser family’s financial situation, their wacky benefactor, and the professor’s area of study all play a part in the education of Rose Meadows.
Comic, tragic, and intricately plotted, this novel is quickly devoured, yet contemplated for a long time afterward.