Eight Cousins (or The Aunt-Hill) by Louisa May Alcott 5 out of 5 stars After her father’s death Rose is listless and ill, until her new guardian, Uncle Alec, encourages her to try healthful food, sunshine, and exercise. Gradually, Rose begins to improve both in health and spirits, and soon she is able to join her cousins in their frolics and adventures. She has seven cousins, all boys, who gather around her with energetic fun. But Rose also has a great many meddlesome aunts, who object to Uncle Alec’s parenting style, saying that he will make her into a shameful tomboy instead of an elegant young lady. Ultimately, Rose has to decide which path is the best for her own happiness.
This book just gets sweeter every time I read it! What a comfort it is to reread old favorites! I always cry at the sad parts and cheer for Rose when she triumphs.
Perelandra (Space Trilogy, #2) by C.S. Lewis 4 out of 5 stars In this second book of the trilogy, Ransom travels to another alien planet at the request of Maleldil. This time he goes to Perelandra (Venus), and encounters a new race of aliens, who are struggling with the same temptations from the Evil One that Adam and Eve fell victim to in our own world. Ransom must battle against the Evil Presence in order to protect the innocent new society that is just beginning to form.
I love the imaginative world-building in this book! There are so many different settings and alien animals and weird plants. Perelandra is such a strange planet with a perpetually cloudy sky and rolling islands that float on the seas. And even when you are more than halfway through the book, and you think you’ve seen all the scenery and met all the animals that Perelandra could possibly have, then there are still more mysteries and wildlife and extreme mountains and rivers to be explored.
Patsy and Beth are on a cross-country automobile drive with their father and uncle John, when they encounter a disabled young girl searching for her distant relatives. They decide to help her, and the group travels across the Southwest, finding adventure on their way to California.
The plot can be a little slow with all the descriptions of travelling, and the scenery, and the mountains and deserts and the plants and wildlife, etc… If you enjoy travelling-style books, then you would like this one. I found it interesting to hear about all the different places they visit, but it definitely slows down the main plot.
Out of the Silent Planet (Space Trilogy, #1) by C.S. Lewis 4 out of 5 stars Ransom is kidnapped and taken to another planet, where he escapes his kidnappers and must fend for himself on an alien world. Everything he encounters is entirely foreign and strange, from the water to the trees. The landscape is wild and inhospitable, and there are aliens who (he has been told) need a human sacrifice for some pagan ritual.
Malacandra is such a vibrant planet, with rich cultures and languages of its own. I love all the little details of the aliens and their society that make it feel like a real place. It’s utterly bizarre and wild, but with little flecks of familiarity that endear you to the alienness of it all.
The writing and story-telling are truly brilliant. The plot is exciting, and the writing draws the reader into each scene so that you are experiencing what Ransom is experiencing through every adventure. I love that there are a lot of philosophical questions and spiritual lessons in this book, but it never weighs down the plot or spoils the adventure.
Emily is growing up, honing her writing skills, and getting an education at Shrewsbury high school along with her friends, Ilse, Perry, and Teddy. She gets into innocent mischief, makes honest mistakes, and generally has little adventures around PEI.
I love the character development that Emily has in this book. There are some surprising developments with her family clan, the Murrays, as they begin to recognize that she’s no longer a little girl that they can bully.
Mistress Masham’s Repose by T.H. White, Fritz Eichenberg (Illustrator) 4 out of 5 stars Delightful book!! Rereading it for the second or third time, I have enjoyed it just as much as the first time. Orphaned Maria lives in a crumbling old palace that her ancestors built on an extensive estate full of gardens and obelisks and temples and monuments. But there is no money to repair the palace, and she lives in poverty with her governess and one old cook.
When Maria is exploring around an island in a small lake, she encounters the tiny Lilliputian people who Gulliver brought back to England after his travels. They are in danger of being discovered by Maria’s evil guardians, the vicar and governess, and Maria must use all her ingenuity to save them from being kidnapped and sold as slaves.
I love how imaginative this book is. My favorite parts are the scenes that describe how the Lilliputians make their living on the Mistress Masham’s Repose island. They fish, and hunt, and train mice as their horses. They have their little homes in the roofs and hollow pillars of the Repose cupola, and keep their tiny farm animals in stables built into the steps of the structure.
This book is a continuation of Charlotte Bronte’s last writing before she died. She only finished the first two chapters of this book, and it has been finished by “another lady”. I am usually skeptical about modern authors trying to finish work from a classic author, but this was well done.
The writing doesn’t exactly mimic Charlotte Bronte’s writing style, but it does a fair job. The themes and plot have many elements that I would expect to find in a Bronte story. There is a gothic moodiness, plot twists, wild scenery, and of course, complex and compelling characters.
Mrs. Chalfont is a lonely widow who adopts an abandoned child and tries to penetrate the mystery of the child’s true identity. With the help of Mr. Ellin, she embarks on a journey of discovery and intrigue to unravel the secrets the child is hiding. It is only when the ruthless Emma appears on the scene that the depths of crime and hatred become apparent, and only Mrs. Chalfont can save the innocent child she has come to love.
I loved the story so much! I was laughing and crying and clutching the book to my heart! The emotional power in the story is very reminiscent of Charlotte Bronte’s style.