Did you know about Aunties’ Day? It is the fourth Sunday in July, a celebration of aunts that I, frankly, had never heard of. But I delved into the subject without a qualm and made some interesting discoveries about aunts in fiction.
First of all, fictional aunts spend a great deal of time raising the children of their siblings:
The History of Us
Two decades after the tragic accident that killed their father, Theodora, Josh, and Claire return to their childhood home to confront painful realities about their incapable mother and the devoted aunt who raised them.
First Time in Forever
From becoming a stand-in mom to her niece, Lizzy, to arriving on Puffin Island, Emily Donovan’s life has become virtually unrecognizable. Between desperately safeguarding Lizzy and her overwhelming fear of the ocean that surrounds her everywhere she goes, Emily has lost count of the number of “just breathe” talks she’s given herself. And that’s before charismatic yacht club owner Ryan Cooper kisses her.
And they are frequently in danger:
After he receives a posthumous note from his aunt hinting that things are horribly amiss in her Florida Gulf Coast town, Army Special Agent John Puller uncovers a shocking conspiracy.
The Secret Life of Violet Grant
Manhattan, 1964. When Vivian Schuyler, newly graduated from Bryn Mawr College, receives a bulky overseas parcel in the mail, the unexpected contents draw her inexorably back into her family’s past, and the hushed-over crime passionnel of an aunt she never knew, whose existence has been wiped from the record of history.
However, aunts have their outrageous/extravagant sides, too:
The Code of the Woosters
Aunt Dahlia demands that Bertie Wooster help her dupe an antique dealer into selling her an 18th-century cow-creamer. Dahlia trumps Bertie’s objections by threatening to sever his standing invitation to her house for lunch, an unthinkable prospect given Bertie’s devotion to the cooking of her chef, Anatole. A web of complications grows but never fear! As usual, butler Jeeves rescues Bertie from being arrested, lynched, and engaged by mistake!
Great-Aunt Sophia’s Lessons for Bombshells
Grace Cavanaugh, who is hell-bent on proving her Women’s Studies dissertation thesis that beauty only leads to misery, didn’t reckon on her great-aunt Sophia, a former B-movie star, transforming her into a femme fatale who purrs for her suitors … or devours them.
But aunts are always there when we need them:
Bellfield Hall, or The Observations of Miss Dido Kent
Visiting Bellfield Hall to comfort her niece, who has been seemingly abandoned by her wealthy fiancee, Miss Dido Kent investigates the possibly related death of a young woman, a situation that is complicated by surprising secrets and an unexpected romance for Dido.
Secrets of the Lighthouse
Ellen Trawton is running away from it all – quite literally. She is engaged to marry an aristocratic man she doesn’t love, she hates her job, and her mother…well, her mother is not a woman to be crossed. So Ellen escapes to the one place she knows her mother won’t follow her – to her aunt’s cottage on Ireland’s dramatic Connemara coast.
Even if we don’t exactly get along with them:
For sixteen years Anna has studiously avoided her Aunt Rose. Exchanging cards at holiday time — that’s as far as Anna is willing to go with the woman she once loved more than anyone else in the world. That love died the night Rose betrayed Anna and her mother — Rose’s fatally ill sister — and Anna can’t forgive or forget. But when Anna needs an escape, the only place for her to go is home: to the family, to the restaurant, to Rose, who has been trying for more than a decade to regain Anna’s trust.
And let’s not forget the greatest aunt of all the aunts of fiction:
Mame is the world’s most beloved, madcap, devastatingly sophisticated, and glamorous aunt. She is impossible to resist, and this hilarious story of an orphaned ten-year-old boy sent to live with his aunt is as delicious a read in the twenty-first century as it was in the 1950s.