Book Review: Doctor Dolittle in the Moon

Doctor Dolittle in the Moon by Hugh Lofting
Doctor Dolittle in the Moon (Doctor Dolittle, #8)
by Hugh Lofting

5 out of 5 stars on GoodREads

Doctor Dolittle rides a Lunar Moth to the Moon using Moon Flowers to provide oxygen for the trip. There he finds forest, lakes, rives, and jungles, along with insect and bird life. The animals have summoned him there to heal their illnesses, but nowhere can they find a sign of the animals. With Tommy Stubbins, Polynesia, and Chee-chee the monkey, the intrepid explorers trek across the dark side of the Moon, searching for answers and discovering strange and wondrous phenomena on the Moon.

I was absolutely fascinated by this story, and all the imaginative and strange wonders on the Moon. The Doctor is wonderful and kind as always, with a fiery energy and intelligence. The story is told from Tommy’s perspective and he is an excellent narrator. I was so entranced with the crazy plot and the wild action, as well as the details of how the Doctor and his explorers survived, finding food and water, and fashioning clothing for themselves from bark and leaves.

It ends on a cliffhanger, so now I have to immediately read the next book in the series!

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

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.

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