Book Review: The Children of the New Forest

The Children Of The New Forest by Frederick Marryat
The Children Of The New Forest (Puffin Classics) 
by Frederick Marryat

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

During the English Civil War, the four Beverley children are orphaned when their wealthy father is killed fighting for the restoration of King Charles. Their grand home is burnt down and they are supposed dead, so they find shelter with a kindly old forester. They each learn to hunt, harvest, and care for their little cottage, living in seclusion deep in the forest. But the oldest boy, Edward, is restless and he dreams of going to war as his father did. 
The siblings encounter many dangers and perplexities, highwaymen and robbers, spies from the Parliamentary government, and a new Intendant governor over the forest who is determined to capture anyone poaching the deer in the forest. But the siblings are resourceful and brave, so they flourish in their humble cottage, acquiring farm animals and planting small fields, dreaming of the time when their inheritance will be restored to them, if ever the true King returns to England.

I loved this story of the Beverley siblings! The plot is interesting and full of action and intrigue. I really liked even the simple aspects of the story about the children learning to do household tasks like cooking, the boys learning how to hunt, and the girls keeping a dairy.

I like the formal writing style and the vivid language of this book. I wish that the girls in the story had more time in the narrative. They are sort of background characters, and don’t take part in most of the action, but I liked them! I just wish there was more in-depth writing about them.

I was really touched by the siblings deep emotional attachment to each other and to the old man who takes them in. Time and again, they are shown to have noble feelings and generosity to their friends. I loved how the siblings all work and sacrifice a great deal to care for and protect each other. Their first thought in any difficult situation is, “How can I take care of my siblings?”

Usually, I get bored with historical fiction, but I loved the historical aspects of this story. The characters made the history more intimate and immediate to the reader.

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