Classic Book Review: Les Miserables

Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

Les Misérables
by Victor Hugo

4 out of 5 stars
Jean ValJean is an ex-convict. Everywhere he goes he is shunned and reviled, but one old priest is kind to him. ValJean undergoes a change of heart, and determines to become respectable and good. He conceals his past, and becomes a philanthropist. He gives to the poor, supports the elderly and the orphaned, and shows kindness to a dying prostitute, Fantine. However, the police inspector Javert has not forgotten ValJean’s criminal past. Javert pursues ValJean into the crowded streets of Paris, stubbornly intent on bringing ValJean back to the galley prison for his past crimes.

I loved so many things about this book! The dramatic storyline was wonderful with so many compelling and complex characters. The writing is so powerful!

I loved that we get a very in-depth look into the inner struggles of each of the main characters. We see into their heart. We hear their thoughts. We look right into their innermost souls. And then when they make a decision and take action, it really means something profound because we have experienced all those internal workings that led up to that moment of action.

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Classic Book Review: Aunt Jane’s Nieces on Vacation

Aunt Jane's Nieces on Vacation by Edith Van Dyne

Aunt Jane’s Nieces on Vacation (Aunt Jane’s Nieces, Book 7)
by Edith Van Dyne (Pseudonym), L. Frank Baum
4 out of 5 stars

Patsy, Beth, and Louise are on vacation with their Uncle John at the farmhouse in Millville. When they hear someone complaining that there is no morning newspaper, they decide to start printing a paper of their own. Uncle John buys a printing press, and the girls do all the journalism and editing. They charge one penny for each paper, but are steadily losing money because of all the expenses. The local mill workers start riots, and local politicians try to bribe the editor. Is running a country newspaper more trouble than it’s worth?

I loved this funny story about the girls taking up journalism as their new hobby. You would think that the plot would be boring with such a peaceful and quiet country setting, but there is plenty of action and mystery.

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Classic Book Review: Eight Cousins

Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott

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.

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Classic Book Review: Perelandra

Perelandra by C.S. Lewis

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.

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Classic Book Review: Aunt Jane’s Nieces and Uncle John

Aunt Jane's Nieces and Uncle John by Edith Van Dyne

Aunt Jane’s Nieces and Uncle John (Aunt Jane’s Nieces, #6)
by Edith Van Dyne (Pseudonym), L. Frank Baum
3 out of 5 stars

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.

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Classic Sci-Fi Review: Out of the Silent Planet

Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis

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.

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Classic Review: Emily Climbs

Emily Climbs by L.M. Montgomery

Emily Climbs (Emily, #2)
by L.M. Montgomery
5 out of 5 stars
Rereading this for the tenth or twelfth time, I enjoy it just as much as ever!

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.

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