Kirsteen is the tale of a young woman from an old but impoverished Argyllshire family who escapes her domineering father and seeks her independence. Kirsteen's options appear to be unpaid drudgery at home, or a loveless marriage. Rejecting both, she escapes to London where she makes a living through her own innate craft and skill. Though scorned by her family for choosing to work as a mantua-maker, Kirsteen becomes highly successful in the life she carves out for herself. Kirsteen is a startlingly modern novel whose powerful voice, narrative drive and ironic exposure of injustice and hypocrisy provide a fascinating perspective on women in Victorian society. First published in 1890, and written by Queen Victoria's favourite novelist Margaret Oliphant, Kirsteen is a deep, rich novel by an author at the height of her powers.
Margaret Oliphant (1828 - 1897) was a Scottish woman of letters who relied on her prolific writing to support her family. Much of her fiction confronts the injustice of denying women outlets of fulfilment. Acutely observant and formidably intelligent, her works provide an illuminating commentary on Victorian society.