Classic Review: A Woman of No Importance

A Woman of No Importance by Oscar Wilde
A Woman of No Importance
by Oscar Wilde

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Gerald is a young man who secures an appointment as secretary to the rich and flirtatious ambassador, Lord Illingworth. His mother objects to the moral character of his new employer, but can give no concrete reason without revealing her dark past. Gerald is determined to accept the post, because he is in love with a young American lady and needs the money to get married. Throughout the play, various rich and titled characters gossip about London high society, and flirt with each other, and say a lot of shameless nonsense.

One of the main reasons why I love Oscar Wilde’s hilarious plays is the silly dialogue. The characters say such idiotic things, and it always makes me laugh. Almost the entire first act is fluff and character introductions, but it is such entertaining fluff that I didn’t mind. Of course, the social commentary is an undercurrent that lies under every scene, exposing the rich elite as vapid, immoral, and selfish. Continue reading

Classic Book Review: Agnes Grey

Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë
Agnes Grey
by Anne Brontë

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Agnes goes to work as a governess for a rich family, and finds her young students difficult to manage. They throw tantrums, fight amongst themselves, torture their pets, and lie to their parents. Agnes is miserable and lonely, but strives to do her duty and influence her students to study and behave themselves. She meets a serious young preacher who inspires her and the two strike up a friendship. They help the poor and visit the sick, finding solace in doing good deeds for their neighbors.

I loved this book! The writing is elegant and delightful. The characters are vivid and lively. The plot is subtle and delicate, using small conversations and little coincidences to paint a larger picture. Every bit of dialogue holds waves of emotion and meaning that gently push the story forward. The writing is absolutely brilliant! Continue reading

Classic Book Review: Moorland Cottage

The Moorland Cottage by Elizabeth Gaskell
The Moorland Cottage
by Elizabeth Gaskell

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Maggie endures with patience the selfishness of her mother and brother, and finds friendship with the invalid wife of their rich neighbor, Mr. Buxton. The two families’ destinies become dangerously linked when Maggie’s brother goes astray, and Mr. Buxton demands a high price for saving him.

I loved Maggie’s strong character! She has a quiet and meek personality, but wonderfully fierce in her defense of the truth. I really loved her character development as she strives to make good decisions for her family.
Maggie’s mother is weak and foolish, and spoils the son, Edward, with too much attention. I was so annoyed with the stupid mother for not seeing how she ruined her child by encouraging his selfish behavior. I really hated Edward, Maggie’s brother. He is so rude to his sister, always expecting her to do everything for him and get him out of trouble.
It’s excellent writing that made me so annoyed with the bad characters, and so in love with the good characters! Continue reading

Classic Review: The Way of the Scarlet Pimpernel

The Way of the Scarlet Pimpernel by Emmuska Orczy
The Way of the Scarlet Pimpernel 
by Emmuska Orczy

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Josette is trapped in Paris during the French Revolution, when her employer tries to blackmail prominent men in the government and is murdered. Desperate to protect his widow and child, Josette seeks for help from the Scarlet Pimpernel. Josette and her boyfriend Maurice fall into the clutches of the merciless Chauvelin, and only the clever Scarlet Pimpernel can save them from the guillotine.

Josette is a wonderful main character, full of compassion and faith. She is not clever or wise, but her good heart and her unwavering loyalty pull her through the story. I loved the scenes where she takes action for herself, never flinching in the face of danger.

The plot is fantastic, of course, with many twists and turns. I loved how all the complexities of each situation finally run together to a swift and glorious end. Continue reading

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.
Continue reading

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

Myths and Misconceptions about Classics

Classic Adventure: https://youtu.be/YG_gobWQ8XU
Children’s Classics: https://youtu.be/t5Zat_TDzDw
Classic Poetry: https://youtu.be/TVtK0uIMC3o
Classic Mystery: https://youtu.be/1WkYQLrJD-k
Five Favorite Classics: https://youtu.be/chM4Gc32Zog