Rose in Bloom (Eight Cousins, #2) by Louisa May Alcott 5 out of 5 stars Rose has returned from a year abroad to find that most of her boy cousins have quite grown up while she was away. Suddenly, they are all on the brink of adulthood and beginning to think of careers and romance. Rose must choose her path in life carefully while she begins to gradually bloom.
I love this marvelous sequel to Eight Cousins! It has a more mature purpose and some darker themes than the first book. There are themes about alcoholism, death, clan loyalty, elitism, philanthropy, and having strong moral principles. This is another Alcott book with moral lessons in every other chapter, but I love it! The morals are woven so nicely into the story, that I don’t mind being preached at in this wholesome way.
I love Phebe and Rose’s sweet friendship even more in this second book than in the first one! Those two girls are so close and affectionate, and they are fiercely loyal and ready to brave anything to protect their friend. It’s so refreshing to read about a strong female friendship!
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.
That Hideous Strength (The Space Trilogy, #3) by C.S. Lewis 4 out of 5 stars Jane and Mark are caught between the forces of good and evil. As the N.I.C.E. corporation offers Mark a job to lure him into their wicked schemes, Jane is approached by a very different group of people who have gathered around Ransom. They each have to decide what they believe in when it turns out that archangels and ancient legends are real.
This book has a very different format from the other books in the series, and Ransom is a side character in his own story. The trouble with Jane and Mark being the main characters, is that I don’t really like either of them. They are so wishy-washy and both their personalities are unattractive. However, they do both have extreme character development and really interesting internal journeys.
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.