Modern Classic Review: The Black Stallion

The Black Stallion by Walter Farley
The Black Stallion (The Black Stallion, #1) 
by Walter Farley

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Alec is heading home aboard a steamship, when the ship sinks in a storm and there are only two survivors: Alec and a spirited black stallion. The two are washed ashore on a small island, where they forage for food, and Alec tames the wild stallion.

I was completely riveted while reading this book! I couldn’t put it down, and read it in one day. The writing has such good pacing, and the action moves swiftly along, pulling the reader into the next chapter and the next.

I adored Alec’s character. He’s smart and tough and resilient.

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Non-Fiction Review: Jane Austen

Jane Austen by Claire Tomalin
Jane Austen: A Life 
by Claire Tomalin

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


This biography of Jane Austen does a very thorough job of seizing on every letter, every mention, every tiny detail that can be gleaned about the famous author; unfortunately, that isn’t much. Jane’s sister, Cassandra, destroyed many of her letters after Jane’s death. Jane’s brothers and nephews and nieces didn’t preserve her letters as faithfully as they should have. The result is that there are few original writings left from one of the best-loved authors of all time, and little is known of her day to day life.

However, the author does a wonderful job of piecing together letters from cousins, diary entries of nieces and neighbors, along with the few portraits and tin-type photographs of her family and friends.
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Classic Review: Northanger Abbey

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
Northanger Abbey 
by Jane Austen

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Catherine Morland is on vacation in Bath with family friends, where she is befriended by the scheming Isabella Thorpe. At her very first dance, Catherine falls in love with the charming Henry Tilney and is invited to visit Northanger Abbey to keep his sister company. Catherine’s wild imagination paints the Abbey as a Gothic melodrama waiting to happen, and she sees mystery and murder in every innocent corner.

Rereading this book for the third time, I enjoyed it so much more than the first two readings; probably because I’m older and more sensitive to the wisdom and humor in Austen’s writing.

When I first read Northanger, I remember being so frustrated with Catherine Morland’s character, because she can’t see through the social facade of people like Isabella Thorpe. Of course, Catherine doesn’t have the experience yet to be able to judge people’s character very well. She assumes that other people think and feel just like herself, and she gives them the benefit of the doubt.

But now I recognize that those aspects of Catherine’s character really frustrated me, because I AM like Catherine in many ways. Imaginative, sensitive, trusting, gullible, naive, and prone to flights of fancy instead of being rooted in reality. Continue reading

Book Review: Percival Keene

Percival Keene by Frederick Marryat
Percival Keene 
by Frederick Marryat

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Percival Keene is the “natural-born child” of the noble Captain Delmar, who refuses to acknowledge his illegitimate son. Percival joins the Navy as a young midshipman, determined to make his true father proud of him and gain his approval.

This book has adventure, pirates, duels of honor, shipwreck, and battles against the French. I loved the action and the fast-paced writing style. The plot is woven together really well, and every new situation has a fascinating outcome. The characters are all so interesting and brave, and I loved the close, trusting relationships they formed.

Percival is the perfect main character, taking action, carefully calculating his next move, emotional at times, and craving connection to his true family. He is incredibly brave in the face of danger, and very intelligent.  Continue reading

Classic Book Review: Moll Flanders

Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe
Moll Flanders 
by Daniel Defoe

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Moll Flanders tells the story of her life, from her infancy in Newgate Prison where her mother was convicted as a thief, to her young maidenhood and adulthood as a whore, conwoman, honest wife, mistress, mother, thief, and the worst kind of liar.

I just hated this book from start to finish. I hated the main character, Moll Flanders, for all her sneaky, conniving, selfish, evil ways. She is entirely self-centered. She is disgustingly promiscuous. She has several children by different men, and abandons them all. She lies to everyone about everything. She has no morals whatsoever, and shows no remorse for her heinous crimes. She schemes how she can trick people out of their money, and steals from innocent children. She is revolting in every particular.

I did not like the writing style either.

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