London: Samuel Tinsley, 1876. First edition. Original publisher's cloth embossed in blind with titles to spines. Cream endpapers. A bit of rubbing to extremities and a small stain to spine of volume I. Internally nice with occasional light foxing; short tear to outer blank margin of P2 (pages 211/212) in volume I and to O7 and O8 (pages 205/206) in volume III, and a small piece torn from upper blank margin of R3 (pages245/256) in volume III. Small bookseller’s ticket on front pastedown of each volume: “G.A. Poynder, Second-Hand Bookshop, Next to General Post Office, Reading.” Previous owner’s ink signature (Arthur J. Nash) on front free endpaper of each volume. Collating , 258; , 248; , 263, [1, printer’s imprint]: complete with the 16 page publisher’s catalogue, dated September, 1877, and the  pp. publisher’s advertisements, dated August 20th, 1877, at the end of volume I. In all a pleasing copy of this scarce book, the only one on the market, which OCLC reports at 7 libraries (only 2 of those in the US).
Phoebe Allen's first novel, in many ways, is reflective of the popularity of the romance genre during the Victorian period. Women readers were a major market -- and this also increased women author's ability to publish work that appealed to them. Yet Gilmory also stands out. On the one hand, it meets the sensational expectations readers would demand: hidden identities, family scandal, and mystery unraveling until an explosive revelation at the denouement. On the other, it places a strong-willed and independent heroine, Gilmory Anstruther, at its center and reveals how she must rely on her wits and not just her virtue to navigate the dangerous world of men. Her anonymous and absent father fails to protect her (either by providing a name or giving guidance in selecting a husband); her scheming grandfather attempts to manipulate her into a marriage to enrich himself; and the man selected for her by her family turns out to be an imposter interested only in using her and escaping with the dowry. In the end, she stands her ground in each circumstance. She uses her good judgement to find a man rich in goodness if not in gold; she locates her father's identity as the aristocrat the Duke of Gilmory; and she forgives her grandfather. Ultimately, Gilmory offers readers of any sex the opportunity to follow not a fainting damsel but a strong woman through the challenges of the sensational novel.
Not in Sadleir or Wolff. (Item #3555)