Book Review: The Battle of Life

The Battle of Life by Charles Dickens
The Battle of Life 
by Charles Dickens

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Grace and Marion are sisters, saying goodbye to their childhood friend, Alfred, who has just come of age after growing up as a ward to the girls’ father, Dr. Jeddler. Alfred promises to come back someday to marry Marion when he has finished medical school and made his fortune. The years pass, but their happy plans take a sorrowful turn, and it will take all their courage to survive the battle of life.
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Classic Review: Martin Chuzzlewit

Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens
Martin Chuzzlewit 
by Charles Dickens

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Old Martin Chuzzlewit is disgusted with his greedy relatives who only want his money, so he disinherits everyone, including his grandson, Young Martin, who is named after him. Young Martin falls in love with an orphaned ward, Mary Graham, who acts as Old Martin’s nursemaid. But the two young people are torn apart when the family quarrel causes Young Martin to seek his fortune out in the world.

When he goes to work for a hypocritical architect, Mr. Pecksniff, Young Martin befriends poor Tom Pinch, a lowly clerk with a good and innocent heart. Because of his generosity and humility, Tom is always being taken advantage of and overlooked.

Mr. Pecksniff and his two daughters renew their relationship with their cousin, Jonas Chuzzlewit, a devious man who longs to inherit the family business and be rid of his doddering old father.

This book includes blackmail, murder, hidden identities, and fraud, as well as two sweet romances, hilarious characters, and a compelling redemption story. Continue reading

Book Review: Aunt Jane’s Nieces in Society

Aunt Jane's Nieces in Society by Edith Van Dyne
Aunt Jane’s Nieces in Society (Aunt Jane’s Nieces, #5) 
by Edith Van Dyne

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Beth, Louise, and Patsy are three cousins, who gain entry into fashionable society through their wealthy Uncle John’s influence. They discover that being part of the rich elite in New York City is not all parties, receptions, and dances. When Louise becomes involved with a questionable gentleman, the girls will need all of Uncle John’s help to save Louise from the despicable machinations of a desperate rogue.

I love this 5th book in the Aunt Jane’s Nieces series! The plot has lots of intrigue and action, and of course, the sweet nieces are adorable. I enjoy the simple writing style, and the wholesome storylines.
I found all the characters to be interesting and complex, especially the cold and mysterious socialite, Diana, who pretends to befriend our new young debutantes.

Book Review: Our Mutual Friend

Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
Our Mutual Friend 
by Charles DickensMarcus Stone (Illustrator)

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Old Harmon is dead, and his will stipulates that if his son, John, wants to inherit his vast fortune, then John must marry Bella Wilfer, a beautiful girl from a poor family. John travels back to England, and dons a disguise so that he can observe Bella before making up his mind. But when a body is found floating in the river, everyone assumes that it is John Harmon, and John takes on a new identity and a new occupation.
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Classic Review: The Romance of the Forest

The Romance of the Forest by Ann Radcliffe
The Romance of the Forest 
by Ann Radcliffe

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Adeline is cast out by her father and finds shelter with her new friends, the La Motte family, who are on the run from the law. The family find a refuge in an old ruined Abbey in the depths of the forest, where they hide from prying eyes, always terrified that they will be discovered and forced from their pitiful home.

The Marquis who owns the dilapidated Abbey, discovers them living on his land, but inexplicably allows them to remain, making a mysterious alliance with Mr. La Motte. Ghoulish skeletons, mysterious manuscripts, and gruesome secret rooms are lying around all over the Abbey, and the dark forest holds secrets of its own.

The friendly Theodore warns Adeline that her life is in danger, but he is called away to his regiment before he can explain or help her. Adeline goes through every kind of disaster and terrifying mishap, fleeing for her life when she is betrayed by those she trusts.

This is Gothic melodrama at its best! I lost count of how many times Adeline fainted, but it must have been more than twenty times. She dissolves into tears, is frozen with terror, collapses under the strain of horror, and is prostrate with grief in every single chapter.

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