Picture of Frances Hodgson Burnett

About FHB

The Many Faces of Frances

July 25, 2016

NO PICTURE from her time could ever do her any REAL justice. Black and whites, that took forever to develop, could never capture accurately this TRULY COLORFUL CHARACTER that was Frances.

And based on the personality descriptions of Frances below, from a variety of sources & time periods, Frances was so many things, depending on where she was, who she was with, and how she was feeling.

But aren’t we all that way? If you asked 20 different people, from different times & parts in my life to describe me, I bet you will come up with a very similar set of contradicting descriptions. Catch me at the grocery store on my way to pick kids up from school, and I am a “crazy focused woman on a mission, frank and potentially rude”.  Catch me after yoga and I am “calm, clear, and peaceful”. In work mode…I am a whole other bag of nuts! And, I’m not famous.

That being said…take these with a grain of salt and then make up your own mind of who Frances was(and is to you) and follow FHB and Me so you can Get to Know Her By Name.

“Frances was auburn-haired and always inclined to be plump. A brother once joked that when she fell she bounced like a rubber ball.” –Waiting for the Party, Ann Thwaite

…Fair warning to both of my brothers, if you ever describe me like that..I WILL hunt you down. 😉

With blue eyes, red curls, and a rosy complexion, Frances commanded a room even with her quite short stature.  And her personality was even brighter than her lovable looks.

Knoxville friends who knew her in her twenties describe her as having “possessed a lovable nature, was romantic, FULL OF SUNSHINE, optimistic, and saw the funny side of everything”. –Larew, Childhood Recollections of Frances Hodgson Burnett

While Miss Laski, after reading Frances’ son’s book the The Romantik Lady, accurately states that she comes off the pages as “aggressively domineering, offensively whimsical, and abominable self-centered and conceited.” –Written for Children, John Rowe Townsend, 1965

Frances would described herself as always being curious, hardworking, compassionate, generous, not very wise and naturally lazy.

And a woman who met Frances at a dinner party, who didn’t know she was an author, described her as a “frank, unpretentious wife”.  –Waiting for the Party, Ann Thwaite

Julia Schayer said, “There are those who call Mrs. Burnett plain and those who call her beautiful. Some have found her cold, and an indifferent talker, while others have left her presence in a state of wild enthusiasm over her vivacity and brilliancy…She is as one happens to find her-gay, amusing, fascinating or reserved, distrait, even haughty as the case may be.”

If you are smarter than me…read over this, but I had to look this word up:  Distrait: (adjective) distracted or absent minded.

Here is how I like to view her:  

Kind • Giving • Passionate • a Gardner for and of life • a Fairy Godmother to those she loved and those in Need • a Caretaker • Gifted • Compassionate • Pen Driven • Energetic   • Loved  and  Outspoken • Lived in fast-lane of life • Not a “rule follower” • Liberated • a Working & Loving Mother • Eccentric… and ONE AMAZING WOMAN.


Do you have many faces like Frances?

If you had to choose just one, that the world saw and remembered, which would you choose to put on?

I’ll go first: I would put on my face of JOY and hope that it would spread to all who saw it. What about you?


FHB and especially Me